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Television show given access to records of murder case

A court TV show has been given permission to take a look at the records from a 4-year-old Wellsville murder case.

Allegany County Judge Thomas P. Brown granted the show access to papers from the W. Joseph Lynch, Tammy Smith case in a ruling Friday, Court Clerk Warren M. Emerson said.

Brown decided in favor of Story House Productions of Washington, producer of the Missing Persons Unit series, after receiving no objections from District Attorney Terrence Parker's office or attorney Peter Degnan, who defended Lynch.

Lynch, now 37, of Wellsville, pleaded guilty in September 2004 to second-degree murder in Smith's death. Brown sentenced Lynch to 20 years to life in prison in November 2004.

Smith, 21, a Belmont native living in Allegany, worked at a smoke shop in Limestone and was reported missing Jan. 30, 2003. Her car was found a week later in a downtown Wellsville parking lot.

The object of a massive search after she was reported missing, Smith was discovered two months later when a hiker noticed her body protruding from a melting snowbank in a field off Brown Road in the Town of Ward. She had been beaten and shot to death.

Lynch had been linked to her disappearance after witnesses reported seeing the two of them leave a Wellsville bar together, but he was not charged until after she was found.

Emerson said Brown, who noted that the case records "are presumptively available to the public," wanted Smith's family to have a chance to comment before he endorsed the production company's request.

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