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MAN ADMITS TO SEX ABUSE, MURDER OF OFFICE WORKER

A Central Islip man pleaded guilty Monday to killing an office worker who was abducted, sexually abused and bludgeoned.

Joseph Melville, 36, avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty to the June 13 slaying of Deborah Banoff.

Police said Melville overpowered Banoff outside her Hauppauge office, tied her hands and forced her back into her car. He then drove to an area near the Deer Park train station, sexually abused her and bludgeoned her with the piece of concrete.

Her body was dumped in the woods near the station.

Melville was arrested after he was seen driving the victim's car.

He pleaded guilty to a seven-count indictment charging him with first-degree murder, second-degree murder and aggravated sexual abuse.

He will be sentenced Dec. 2 by Suffolk County Judge John Mullin.

Death row inmate receives
sentence in 1982 slaying

GOSHEN (AP) -- Serial killer Michael Ross was sentenced to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison Monday for the 1982 death of a 16-year-old girl.

Ross, who is on death row in Connecticut for a series of similar killings, showed no remorse when sentenced in Orange County Court, Assistant District Attorney John Geidel said.

Last month, Ross pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree manslaughter in the death of Paula Perrera.

Ross is to return to Connecticut to await execution as part of an agreement between the two states.

Ross, 41, was indicted by a grand jury in September and charged with murder, rape and sodomy after DNA evidence linked him to Perrera.

Her body was found in the Town of Wallkill, about 60 miles north of New York City, in the fall of 1982.

Ross received a death sentence in Connecticut after being convicted in the murders of six eastern Connecticut women in the 1980s.

Bragman leaving Assembly
after failing to oust Silver

NORTH SYRACUSE (AP) -- His effectiveness gone because of a failed bid to claim the Assembly's top post, former Assembly Majority Leader Michael J. Bragman said Monday that he would step down Dec. 31 as a state legislator.

While his 21-year career in Albany contained many successes, the Onondaga County Democrat acknowledged that he had lost his political clout after his failed attempt last year to oust Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan.

"It is not fair to my constituents for me to continue. Their expectation level has stayed the same. People cannot understand, even though we have talked about it, that one person can control everything that goes on," said Bragman, 61.

Silver said, "I wish him well."

After the failed challenge for the speakership, Bragman was fired as majority leader by Silver. Bragman said he is no longer able to get legislation passed or obtain funding for local projects. His staff was reduced from 39 to two, he said.

Bragman has formed an exploratory committee to consider a run for Onondaga County executive in 2003. He said he planned to spend more time with his wife, son and twin daughters and would likely make a decision sometime in mid-2002. But, he added, "I have a very serious interest" in running for county executive.

Bragman's career in politics began in 1965, when he became the first Democrat elected to the Cicero Town Board in 60 years.

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