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MAN GETS 15 YEARS TO LIFE IN SLAYING

A Buffalo man will spend 15 years to life in prison for fatally shooting another man during a holdup.

Erie County Judge Michael F. Pietruszka imposed the sentence Friday on Michael Crawford, 19, of Freeman Street, who was convicted of murder last month in the Nov. 10, 1997, slaying of Akai Block, 22, of Winslow Avenue.

Block was shot in the chest while visiting a friend on Niagara Street as Crawford allegedly tried to commit a robbery.

Pietruszka sentenced Crawford to a concurrent 15-year term for the robbery attempt. However, the judged ordered that those sentences run consecutively with a seven- to 14-year term Crawford received June for stealing two cars -- one of them a Buffalo police cruiser.

Crawford pleaded guilty April 26 to first-degree attempted robbery and criminal possession of stolen property in connection with those thefts. he was arrested on June 4, 1998, in the theft of a Northeast District patrol car. He was out on bail and awaiting trial in that crime when he was arrested Aug. 7 in the theft of $160 and the car of a couple accosted outside an Oak Street nightspot.

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