- Associated Press - Friday, April 25, 2014

A daily look at late-breaking news, coming events and stories that will be talked about in Pennsylvania on Friday:

DEVELOPER AT CENTER OF NORTHEAST PENNSYLVANIA JUDICIAL SCANDAL SENTENCED TO ONE YEAR IN PRISON

A developer at the center of one of the biggest judicial scandals in U.S. history was sentenced to one year in prison Friday. Robert Mericle, the builder of a pair of for-profit youth detention centers, pleaded guilty in northeastern Pennsylvania to concealing a felony. Federal prosecutors said he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to judges who were subsequently convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

CORONER SAYS CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA MAN KILLED ELDERLY MOTHER, THEN HIMSELF

Authorities in central Pennsylvania say a man shot and killed his elderly mother before turning the gun upon himself. York County Coroner Pam Gay said 57-year-old Donald Cassel shot to death 81-year-old Shirley Westheafer and then killed himself shortly Thursday at a home in Warrington Township. Gay said Westheafer had moved in because she could no longer live by herself due to health issues, including dementia.

JUDGE WON’T BAR AGGRAVATING FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO DEATH PENALTY IF MAN IS CONVICTED IN STABBING DEATH OF ESTRANGED GIRLFRIEND

A judge has refused to bar western Pennsylvania prosecutors from presenting aggravating factors that could allow a jury to sentence a man to death if he is convicted in the stabbing death of his estranged girlfriend two years ago. Jordan Clemons, 25, is charged in the death of 21-year-old Karissa Kunco, whose body was found in the woods in Washington County in 2012. The judge had rejected a defense request to move the trial.

PROSECUTORS BARRED FROM REFERENCING TATOOS OF DEFENDANTS CHARGED IN MURDER OF MAN FOUND IN SUV IN NORTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA RAVINE

Prosecutors have been barred from referencing the tattoos of two defendants charged in the murder of a man found shot to death in his sport utility vehicle in a northeastern Pennsylvania ravine last summer. Neil Pal and Jason Dominick, both 23, are scheduled for trial Monday in Lackawanna County on murder and conspiracy charges in the death of 24-year-old Frank Bonacci, whose body was found in his SUV on a ledge above Roaring Brook in July. The judge will allow jurors to see photos of one of the defendants with a handgun.

JUDGE RULES AGAINST SOUTHWESTERN PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL DISTRICT SEEKING HIGHER TAXES ON COAL MINING PROPERTY

A southwestern judge has ruled against a school district that wants higher taxes levied on property used for coal mining. The Shade-Central City School District was in court to try to get the Somerset County assessment appeals board to adopt a new methodology for valuing coal. The district is arguing in its 2011 tax assessment appeal that the county has under-assessed multiple coal parcels. District solicitor Jeffrey Berkey says the board will review its options.

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