- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - A death row inmate convicted of having strangled his 3-year-old niece in northeastern Pennsylvania more than two decades ago will be getting a new day in court.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last month declined 45-year-old Michael Bardo’s bid for a new trial but split 3-3 on whether to uphold a lower court order vacating his death sentence.

Because of the deadlock, the decision by Luzerne County Senior Judge Patrick Toole will stand. He ruled that defense attorneys failed to present a wealth of mitigating evidence at sentencing.

A March 19 hearing is now scheduled to discuss the mechanics of a new sentencing hearing.

Bardo was sentenced to death after he was convicted of first-degree murder and indecent aggravated assault in the September 1992 death of 3-year-old Joelle Donovan.

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