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Deceased DA Merola Wins Re-election

November 4, 1987

NEW YORK (AP) _ A week after his sudden death, Bronx District Attorney Mario Merola overwhelmingly won re-election Tuesday, apparently the first time a dead person has been elected to city office.

Gov. Mario Cuomo will appoint someone to serve for one year in Merola’s stead, until voters can select a successor in the 1988 election, said Matthew Monahan, a spokesman for the governor.

With 34 percent of the precincts reporting, the tally was 24,912 votes or 88 percent for Merola, a Democrat with Republican and Liberal endorsement, to 3,391 or 12 percent for his opponent, lawyer Thomas Lavin Jr. of the tiny Conservative Party.

Lavin did not campaign actively in the heavily Democratic borough.

Merola was the city’s senior district attorney, with nearly 15 years in the job. His office was best known for sending ″Son of Sam″ killer David Berkowitz to jail for life in 1978, and for its unsuccessful prosecution of former U.S. Labor Secretary Raymond J. Donovan, who was acquitted this year.

Merola, 65, died of a cerebral hemorrhage the evening of Oct. 24, six hours after the deadline for ballot changes.

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