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This Hour: Latest Pennsylvania news, sports, business and entertainment

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Lawyer: Nazi war suspect dies as extradition OK'd

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The lawyer for a Nazi war crimes suspect says the 89-year-old Philadelphia man has died while awaiting extradition to Germany.

Attorney Dennis Boyle told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Johann (YO'-hahn) Breyer died Tuesday night at a Philadelphia hospital.

The revelation came on the same day a judge issued an order granting a request for Breyer to be extradited to Germany to face trial. It was still subject to U.S. government approval.

The U.S. attorney's office said it didn't have any information yet on Breyer's status.

German prosecutors had hoped to try Breyer on charges of aiding in the murder of more than 200,000 Jews at the Auschwitz death camp.

Breyer had said he was forced to work there as a guard in his teens.

The retired toolmaker was arrested at his home last month and had been in federal custody.


More than 500 migrant children sent to Pa.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - More than 500 migrant children are being housed in Pennsylvania as federal officials wrestle with a national crisis created by a flood of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors across the southern U.S. border.

State officials confirmed Wednesday that the federal government told them 120 children are in two temporary centers in Bethlehem and Womelsdorf, near Reading.

Kait Gillis of the state Department of Public Welfare says the other 386 youngsters are staying with "sponsors" that include relatives, religious groups and others.

More than 57,000 minors, mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, have crossed into the United States since October.

President Obama is seeking emergency funds for more immigration judges and detention facilities, while congressional Republicans are demanding changes in federal law to speed up deportations.


4 traffic judges convicted in ticket-fixing case

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Four ousted traffic court judges in Philadelphia have been convicted of lying to authorities but cleared of most charges in a sweeping ticket-fixing case.

A fifth judge and a businessman were acquitted in Wednesday's verdict.

An indictment last year portrayed the now-abolished court as a pit of patronage and corruption.

Nearly the entire bench was charged with fixing tickets, sometimes in exchange for gifts or favors.

The traffic judges were not lawyers but earned about $90,000 annually. Several pleaded guilty before trial.

Defense lawyers argued that giving insiders "consideration" was long a tradition at traffic court - and not deemed illegal.

The trial defendants were all acquitted of the lead conspiracy and fraud charges.

Two were convicted of perjury.

Philadelphia traffic cases are now handled by the city's municipal court.


Ohio man found shot near turnpike killed himself

SOMERSET, Pa. (AP) - An Ohio man whose body was found earlier this month near a construction pond along the Pennsylvania Turnpike shot himself.

State police in Somerset say 33-year-old Antwan Dash, of Akron, Ohio, died of a gunshot wound to the head.

His body was found about 7 a.m. July 1 along the eastbound lanes near mile marker 108. That would be about two miles west of the Somerset exit.

Dash's vehicle was found parked nearby.

A contractor's employee found the body, which would not have been visible from the toll road.

Police say they don't know why Dash drove to that location before committing suicide.


Man who died after jumping into Pa. pond ID'd

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A coroner says an eastern Pennsylvania man drowned after jumping off a rope swing into a pond, and he ruled the death an accident.

Police in Allentown in Lehigh County were called at about 5 p.m. Tuesday to the pond near the South Mountain Reservoir.

Witnesses said a man surfaced after jumping off the makeshift rope swing into the water, but they said he appeared to be having difficulty and went under again.

Coroner Scott Grim on Wednesday identified the man as 24-year-old Matthew Ruch of Allentown. He said an autopsy Wednesday determined that the cause of death was drowning.

An autopsy is scheduled to determine the cause and manner of death.


Trial ordered for Pa. inmate in cellmate's death

CLEARFIELD, Pa. (AP) - A central Pennsylvania prison inmate has been ordered to stand trial on charges in the beating death of his cellmate a year ago.

The (Clearfield) Progress reports that a Clearfield County magisterial district judge on Tuesday held all charges against 44-year-old Lawrence Peterson Jr. for trial.

Prosecutors allege that Peterson beat 59-year-old William Keitel on Aug. 2 in the cell they shared at the state correctional institution in Houtzdale. Keitel died in the prison infirmary nine days later.

Prosecutors said Peterson said in a letter that he confronted Keitel over remarks made behind his back, but thought he was reaching for a weapon and attacked him.

Public defender Mike Marshall unsuccessfully sought dismissal of the first-degree murder charge, saying prosecutors hadn't proven that his client intended to kill.


DA: Jamaican phone scam targeting Pittsburgh area

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The district attorney is warning people in the Pittsburgh suburbs to beware of a telephone scam apparently based in Jamaica.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. says the callers claim to work for Publisher's Clearing House - the legitimate sweepstakes firm - and tell residents they've won a prize but must first send a check to cover processing fees.

Zappala says the callers have targeted residents of Whitehall Borough and South Fayette Townships in recent days, and that caller IDs have indicated the calls are being placed from the '876' area code in Jamaica.

Zappala says residents should always refuse to send money when they're contacted by phone about any sweepstakes prize or similar offer. Residents can avoid the calls altogether by having their phone company block any calls from the Jamaican area code.


Wounded suspect charged with burglary, prior rape

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh police say a 27-year-old man wounded during a home invasion has been charged with robbery, burglary and other crimes - and rape stemming from an unrelated incident in April.

That man, Christopher Thomas, remained in UPMC Mercy hospital on Wednesday.

Police were continuing to investigate the incident about 2:20 a.m. Tuesday. That's when police say Thomas and another Pittsburgh man, 31-year-old David Calhoun, fired a shot through an apartment door and forced their way into a unit where a 19-year-old man and a 17-year-old female lived.

Police say the 19-year-old grabbed a shotgun and killed Calhoun while wounding Thomas.

Police have yet to identify the resident gunman or say whether he'll be charged, too.

Thomas, the wounded suspect, has also been charged with illegally carrying a firearm, aggravated assault and conspiracy.


Police: Man found dead by fiancee had been shot

CORAOPOLIS, Pa. (AP) - County police are treating a Pittsburgh-area man's death as a homicide now that an autopsy shows he was shot in the head and neck before his fiancee returned home to find him dead.

Allegheny County police say 59-year-old John Parkes Jr. was last seen alive when his fiancee left their Kennedy Township home about 11 a.m. Monday. She returned to find him wounded on their living room floor about four hours later.

County homicide detectives have said there was no sign anybody forced their way into the home before Parkes' fiancee returned. Neighbors have been surprised because Parkes lived in the middle-class bedroom community for years and appeared to get along well with his neighbors.


Pa. racetrack employee pleads guilty in horse case

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania racetrack employee has acknowledged reporting false workout times for horses in exchange for cash.

Sixty-three-year-old Danny Robertson pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday in Harrisburg to wire fraud.

Bettors often consult workout data to make wagers. Prosecutors say Robertson gave inaccurate or completely fabricated times for horses at Hollywood Casino and Racetrack in Grantville.

A November indictment alleged Robertson provided the false numbers to both racing officials and the Kentucky-based data clearinghouse Equibase.

Robertson, of Hershey, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


July 31 is earlier deadline in elk license drawing

BENEZETTE, Pa. (AP) - The Pennsylvania Game Commission says July 31 is the deadline for hunters to enter the lottery to receive one of 108 elk licenses to be issued this year.

The deadline is about a month earlier than normal because game officials are holding the drawing earlier than normal, on Aug. 16 at the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Elk Expo in Benezette.

The state will issue 27 licenses for antlered, or bull, elk, and 81 for antlerless cows.

There's a $10.70 nonrefundable fee to enter the drawing. Anyone selected for an elk license must also have valid general hunting and elk licenses to participate in the hunt.

Elk season is Nov. 3-8 with an extended season from Nov. 10-15 in designated areas for hunters who didn't bag an elk during the regular season.


Parts of Pennsylvania's I-80, I-380 to see 70 mph

HIGHSPIRE, Pa. (AP) - Speed limits on more than 100 miles of two interstates maintained by Pennsylvania's highway department will rise to 70 mph for the first time.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said Wednesday that the sections include 88 miles on Interstate 80 in northern Pennsylvania's Clearfield and Clinton counties and 21 miles of Interstate 380 in northeastern Pennsylvania's Lackawanna and Monroe counties.

The change is to take effect the week of Aug. 11.

The announcement comes a day after the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission raised that roadway's speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph on a 97-mile stretch in central and eastern Pennsylvania.

Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch ('SHOKE) says other highways could see increased speed limits next spring or summer. About 35 other states already allow speeds of 70 mph or more.


Woman: Backyard near turnpike is not a rest stop

STAHLSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania woman says she can see drivers who pull off the side of a highway relieving themselves near her backyard, and state police have been asked to increase patrols.

The woman, Crystal King, tells WTAE-TV that her backyard in Stahlstown, about 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, is separated from the Pennsylvania Turnpike by only a short fence.

King's 11-year-old son and other children in her yard can see people who pull over to relieve themselves instead of using rest areas.

King says one woman got angry when King yelled at her to stop and wound up throwing the human waste at her.

Turnpike officials say they've spoken to King and have asked police for more patrols.

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