- Associated Press - Friday, December 19, 2014

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - A divided state Supreme Court has cleared the way for the resentencing of a northeast Pennsylvania man facing the death penalty in the molestation and strangulation of his 3-year-old niece.

By splitting 3-3 this week, the court automatically upheld a lower court ruling granting a new sentencing hearing for Michael Bardo in the 1992 killing of Joelle Donovan in Wilkes-Barre.

Bardo’s lawyers argued his trial lawyers failed to disclose critical information to jurors that could have swayed them away from a death sentence.

The justices split on the impact expert testimony about Bardo’s poor upbringing would have had if it were introduced at trial.

The 45-year-old could be sentenced to death again if the jury in the new sentencing hearing unanimously finds aggravating factors of his crime outweigh mitigating evidence.

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