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Victor Panaro's conviction for arranging the killing of his former girlfriend's lover in 1981 was upheld Friday by an appeals court.

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Rochester unanimously rejected Panaro's claim that his due process rights were violated when acting State Supreme Court Justice Joseph P. McCarthy barred testimony by a woman who allegedly learned the victim was an informant.

The Rochester court agreed with prosecutor J. Michael Marion that McCarthy correctly ruled there was no evidence to attest to the trustworthiness and reliability of the woman, who wanted to testify about the murder victim's work as a police informant.

On Feb. 9, 1993, McCarthy ordered Panaro, 48, an imprisoned Buffalo drug dealer, to serve an additional prison term of up to 20 years for paying for the murder of Robert Buschi Warner.

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