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Killer dies in prison

Michael Pavone, a former Buffalo church musician serving a life term for the murder of his male lover, died earlier this month, officials in the case confirmed Tuesday.

Pavone, 60, who had been in ill health for some time, died early March 21 after he was rushed to a hospital from the state's Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, said Linda Foglia, an Albany spokeswoman for the state prison system. His death was attributed to liver failure.

Pavone had been music director at St. Peter Catholic Church in Geneva, Ill., until he was returned here in April 2004 to stand trial for the October 1999 murder of Keith A. Sutherland, 46, whose body was dumped in the pond in Tifft Nature Preserve.

Pavone's remains have been returned to Illinois, according to Joseph J. Marusak, the former deputy Erie County district attorney and chief prosecutor in the case. He declined to comment further.

Pavone had been sentenced to 25 years to life.

According to state prison records, Pavone would not have been eligible for parole consideration until December 2029.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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