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VICTIM OF SHOOTING CLAIMS CURBS ON HIS TESTIMONY LED TO CONVICTION OF WRONG MAN DA CALLS VERDICT PROPER; COURT SESSION SET

Judson Price, the community activist who almost died when someone shot him in the face two years ago, claims the wrong man was convicted because a prosecutor didn't let him testify properly last September.

The filing will spark a court session Thursday and the return of Curtis Alford Jr. from a state prison. Price said today he is "certain" he was shot by Jamar Kelley, Alford's co-defendant, not Alford, at about 12:15 a.m. Nov. 12, 1993.

Price, a retired Buffalo school guidance counselor and industrial- arts teacher, was shot as he answered the front door at his home at 396 Winslow Ave.

Paul V. Hurley, Alford's new attorney, said he will ask County Judge Timothy J. Drury to order a hearing on Alford's efforts to get a new trial in the case.

Alford, 19, formerly of Winslow Avenue, was sentenced Oct. 26 to 25 years in prison and is eligible for parole consideration in May 2002.

He is scheduled to be returned to Buffalo from Coxsackie State Correctional Facility near Albany for Thursday's court session.

Erie County District Attorney Kevin M. Dillon said Price's testimony at Alford's attempted-murder trial was consistent with testimony he had given in earlier proceedings.

Dillon insisted Alford had been convicted properly and declined to comment on the specifics of Price's pretrial testimony. But he confirmed reports Price had gone to the Erie County Holding Center last year to talk to Alford, who had once played in a neighborhood basketball league Price ran.

Price said today he feels that "an injustice was done in that the wrong person has been convicted."

On Jan. 12, Drury sentenced Kelley, who pleaded guilty Nov. 23 to attempted murder and assault as the "lookout" in the shooting, to two to six years in prison.

Price said prosecutor Joseph J. Marusak told him during Alford's trial not to say he was sure Kelley's unidentified accomplice couldn't have shot him.

Price said Marusak also told him not to testify that the unidentified person holding a gun in a crouching position near his front door couldn't have shot him because the angle of the gunshot showed it had to have come where Kelley was standing.

Price said he is "absolutely certain" that the gun held by Alford or whoever was with Kelley the night of the shooting "was not the one which fired the shot" into his jaw.

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