In an unprecedented move locally, a judge Wednesday ordered a joint trial in the murder of Amherst bodyguard Robert DiGiulio.
The fate of the man accused of the murder will be decided by a jury, and the fate of DiGiulio's wife, accused of masterminding the slaying, will be decided by the judge.
State Supreme Court Justice Frederick M. Marshall ordered the trial in denying a bid by Anita DiGiulio Marvin, 42, and Luciano "Dilly" Spataro, 57, for separate trials in the April 1985 fatal shooting.
Marshall ordered jury selection to begin next Wednesday.
Erie County District Attorney Kevin M. Dillon and the defense attorneys in the case, David R. Knoll and Thomas J. Eoannou, said a joint jury and non-jury trial is legal but has never been conducted in Erie County.
Dillon and the defense attorneys said they don't object to Marshall's decision.
"We see absolutely no problem with the procedure," Dillon said. "In the interests of judicial economy, it makes good sense."
In a single-count indictment, a grand jury last July accused Mrs. Marvin, an Amherst real estate agent, of masterminding the assassination of her husband, 32, who was shot outside their Amherst home.
Spataro, already serving an eight-year-to-life term for drug dealing and complicity in the 1986 murder of his son-in-law, John Pinelli, is accused of killing DiGiulio.