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PRYOR CONVICTED OF MURDER OUTSIDE BAR

Norman J. Pryor was convicted Friday night of the murder of a man outside a Niagara Falls nightclub last year.

A Niagara County Court jury deliberated about 6 1/2 hours before declaring Pryor guilty of second-degree murder and second- and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr., who presided over the five-day trial, scheduled sentencing for Jan. 7. Pryor could receive 25 years to life.

Pryor, 26, of Robinson Court, Niagara Falls, shot Joshua Hunt, 19, of Ontario Avenue, to death July 6, 2003, outside the former Dante's Restaurant at 29th Street and Pine Avenue.

An eyewitness, Ebony Miller, testified she saw Hunt fall face-first on the sidewalk as he was rounding the corner of the building; he had been shot from behind. She said she saw a man she later learned was Pryor run up with a gun in his hand and shoot Hunt again as he lay on the sidewalk.

Police concluded that just moments before, Hunt had shot to death Shaloin Smith, 26, of Royal Avenue, Niagara Falls.

A detective learned from a jailhouse informant that Pryor had told him in the County Jail that he killed Hunt because Smith owed him $800, and Hunt's killing of Smith meant Pryor couldn't collect the debt.

The shootings occurred after a large crowd poured out of a basement hip-hop club about 3:30 a.m. In the cross-fire, Hunt's brother Emanuel, 28, and three women were wounded.

At the time of the killing, Pryor had been on parole for two months from state prison, where he had served time for a 1999 attempted robbery.

He fled to Florida after the murder and was arrested by U.S. marshals in Miami in December.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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