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1st-degree murder conviction in cousin’s slaying, standoff

October 1, 2018

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — An eastern Pennsylvania man is facing life in prison without possibility of parole in the shooting death of his cousin and the wounding of his wife a year ago.

Northampton County Judge Craig Daily convicted 62-year-old John Hann of first-degree murder Monday, rejecting defense arguments that he acted in the heat of passion when he killed Joseph Mullner and wounded Melinda Mullner. She survived by playing dead. Hann was arrested after a police standoff.

The degree-of-guilt trial stemmed from a plea bargain allowing Hann to avoid a potential death sentence. A third-degree rather than first-degree murder conviction could have allowed his release someday.

Defense attorney Gary Asteak argued that Hann was paranoid and delusional, but Daily said his “bizarre thoughts” didn’t prevent him from knowing what he was doing.

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