- Associated Press - Monday, June 3, 2019

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - An eastern Pennsylvania judge has rejected a defense motion that she step aside from hearing the appeal of a teenager convicted in the murder of her mother four years ago.

The (Allentown) Morning Call reports that Lehigh County Judge Maria Dantos said there was no merit to defense accusations that she improperly inserted herself into guilty plea negotiations involving Jamie Silvonek.

Silvonek, now 18, seeks a new trial in the 2015 slaying of 54-year-old Cheryl Silvonek, when the teen was 14. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 35 years to life.

Caleb Barnes of El Paso, Texas, a Fort Meade, Maryland soldier, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole. Silvonek testified that she plotted the murder and urged Barnes in texts to carry it out.

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Information from: The Morning Call, http://www.mcall.com

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