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PROSECUTION MAY CALL PINELLI'S FATHER TO TESTIFY IN MURDER TRIAL OF SPATARO

A man who this week denounced Erie County prosecutors for a plea bargain that could result in his son's killer receiving a minimum jail sentence may testify for the prosecution at another murder trial.

Michael Pinelli, 60, is listed as a prosecution witness in the upcoming trial of his late son's father-in-law, Luciano Charles "Dilly" Spataro, who was convicted of complicity in the 1986 slaying of John Pinelli. Prosecutors said Spataro arranged the murder.

Spataro, 57, and Anita DiGiulio Marvin, 42, face trial next week in the 1985 slaying of Mrs. Marvin's husband, Robert DiGiulio, a bodyguard for celebrities.

District Attorney Kevin M. Dillon confirmed that Pinelli has provided authorities with "some information which could, possibly, be elicited" at the trial but declined to comment further.

Pinelli criticized the district attorney's office for allegedly misleading his family about the lenient plea deal given to Buffalo mob informant William Koopman, 33, the key witness in the DiGiulio murder and an admitted accomplice in the slaying of Pinelli's son.

Spataro's daughter, Cindy, was married to Pinelli's son, who was killed (by) Koopman -- reportedly at Spataro's request.

Pinelli said his family was shocked to discover last week that Koopman was being guaranteed a five-year prison term in a plea bargain. He said prosecutors repeatedly said he would get at least 15 years.

Pinelli's possible testimony came to light Wednesday during jury selection before State Supreme Court Justice Frederick M. Marshall.

Marshall, while discussing witnesses with the potential jurors to ensure they didn't personally know any, told them that Pinelli was among the prosecution witnesses.

Marshall empaneled six men and four women for the jury in the April 17, 1985, slaying of DiGiulio.

Two other jurors and two alternates will be selected Wednesday, court officials said.

The jury will decide the fate of Spataro, who is serving an eight-year-to-life term for drug dealing and complicity in the slaying of Pinelli's son, while Marshall will rule on Mrs. Marvin, an Amherst real estate agent, who waived her right to a jury.

The case marks the first time, locally, that a jury and non-jury trial have been conducted jointly.

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