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Judge orders hearing on Justice

A judge Wednesday dismissed John D. Justice's demand for immediate release to the community but ordered further proceedings on whether he has been treated properly since a judge gave him his release from prison more than a year ago.

Justice, a convicted multiple murderer, has been held behind bars by the county since last summer, after he was accused of threatening staff at the halfway house where he was staying.

Although State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia said Justice's release from custody was "an inappropriate procedural vehicle," he told state and county attorneys to return to court June 22 for a hearing on whether the state and Justice have fully complied with the court order that released him from prison.

Buscaglia told defense attorney Barry S. Dolgoff, Assistant State Attorney General Kim Murphy and Assistant Erie County Attorney James Tuppen he has "a concern with compliance" by all sides with the conditional prison release order issued in January 2006.

Justice was found guilty of manslaughter in the deaths of his mother Mary, 37, and brother Mark, 13, during an hours-long rampage on Sept. 16, 1985, over his demands to attend an expensive college.

But Justice also was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the fatal stabbing of his father, John W., also 37, and for killing Wayne Haun, 22, whose car he rear-ended that same day.

That resulted in Justice being under the dual control of state penal and mental-health officials obligated to treat the criminally insane.

In Wednesday's court session, Justice said the halfway house where he was required to stay is a crack house and "is run by felons."

Justice said that after nearly two decades in prison for his 1985 murderous rampage, he had never smelled the odor of crack cocaine until last year when he was placed in Grace House, a state-approved prison halfway house.

After the court session, Dolgoff said he plans to appeal Buscaglia's dismissal of Justice's 10-page handwritten motion to be released from custody.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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