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Guilty verdict returned in 2007 murder case

A Buffalo man on trial for fatally shooting his friend in 2007 was found guilty of murder Wednesday in Erie County Court.

Erik Donaldson, 32, faces a possible sentence of 25 years to life in prison when he returns before Judge Thomas P. Franczyk on Sept. 13.

Jurors deliberated more than eight hours before finding Donaldson guilty of murder in the second degree in the death of Christian Thomas, 22, of Buffalo. Thomas was last seen alive on Dec. 30, 2007. It is believed he was killed shortly afterward, but his remains were not found April 8, 2008, when melting snow revealed that his body had been dumped on a pile of debris in a narrow space between two houses on Montana Street. Thomas had been shot in the face and the back.

Donaldson left the area after the shooting and was found by Buffalo Homicide investigators to be living first in Florida and then Alabama. He was returned to Buffalo in 2015 after serving time in Alabama on a weapons charge.

Assistant District Attorney John Patrick Feroleto prosecuted the case.

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