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Montalvo accepts plea deal on eve of murder trial

On the eve of his murder trial, Misael Montalvo took a plea deal Monday that puts off for now the question of his involvement  in a 2004 double murder on Buffalo’s West Side.

Montalvo did not admit taking part in the murders of Nelson and Miguel Camacho and instead pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

As part of the plea deal, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara will hold a hearing – a mini-trial of sorts – on Montalvo’s involvement in the murders. Arcara will have the option of considering Montalvo’s role in the murders as part of his sentencing.

Montalvo, represented by defense lawyer Kevin Spitler, is the last of three defendants charged in the Camacho murders to plead guilty before this week’s trial.

For than a decade, an innocent man, Josue Ortiz, spent time in prison for those same murders. His conviction was recently vacated by the courts and he was released from prison.

Montalvo’s plea is the result of a prosecution by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi and an investigation by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force.