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Roland Murphy was ordered Monday to serve 25 years to life in prison for killing Buffalo cabdriver Michael Prince during a daylight robbery attempt last year.

Erie County Judge Michael F. Pietruszka imposed the maximum prison term on Murphy's jury conviction for second-degree murder and robbery.

Attorney Charles J. Gallagher told the judge the fatal shooting on Mortimer Street at about 3 p.m. May 30, 2003, "was an accident" stemming from a robbery attempt that "escalated."

Prince, 49, of Willert Park, was shot as he struggled with Murphy alongside his cab on Mortimer near Spring Street. Prince managed to drive away, only to crash in the 400 block of Jefferson Avenue moments later, prosecutors said. His cash-filled wallet was found on his body.

Court officials confirmed that Murphy's 15-year-old accomplice testified during the trial and identified Murphy, 20, as the mastermind of the incident.

The accomplice is currently serving an 18-month prison term; he pleaded guilty in Family Court to second-degree murder as a juvenile, court officials said.

Gallagher said the conviction of Murphy as well as an alleged confession he made to homicide detectives 13 months ago will be appealed. He said veteran Buffalo Homicide Detective Mark Stambach improperly coerced Murphy, whom he described as a "stupid" street kid, by falsely telling him his juvenile accomplice had implicated him and that the .38 caliber murder weapon had been recovered.

Sedita and Violanti said the murder weapon was ultimately recovered in the arrest of another friend of Murphy's about three weeks after the Prince murder.


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