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The state attorney general's office can join the prosecution team in Angel R. Colon's potential death-penalty case in the death of seven-year-old Samantha Zaldivar, a state appellate court has ruled.

The court rejected efforts by Colon's attorneys to keep the state's attorneys out of the case.

In a unanimous decision, the five-judge Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Rochester ruled that the state's Executive Law gives Attorney General Dennis C. Vacco the right to provide the services of one of his prosecutors "to aid in the prosecution of a death-penalty case."

Colon, 24, is being held without bail in Wyoming County Jail on a first-degree murder charge in the death of Samantha last Feb. 26. A massive search ended May 23 with the discovery of her body in a shallow grave in a cornfield 1,000 yards from her Wethersfield home.

Wyoming District Attorney Gerald L. Stout, who said he has not decided whether to seek the death penalty, said he has designated Diane M. La-Vallee of Vacco's staff as a special assistant Wyoming County district attorney for the Colon case.

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