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Inmate at Mercer correctional facility facing homicide charges

December 2, 2019 News Extra

Allegheny man allegedly strangled by cell mate

An inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Mercer is facing homicide charges in the death of his cell mate Monday night, according to authorities.

State police said Darl James Heverly Jr., 35, allegedly used pieces of a torn bed sheet to strangle 35-yearold Jason Albert Kelly.

Correctional officers discovered Kelly unresponsive in his cell in the restricted housing unit about 8:50 p.m., Trooper Joseph Morris said this morning. The victim was believed last seen alive around 7:45 p.m.

Prison staff performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and called for a medical emergency. Police were also notified. Nurses at the facility responded and continued CPR.

An automated external defibrillator machine was also utilized, Morris said, before Kelly was taken to Grove City Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Police noted the victim showed no signs of life before an ambulance took him to the hospital. The investigation is ongoing.

Morris said Heverly is expected to be arraigned later today on charges of homicide, aggravated assault, assault by a prisoner, simple assault and reckless endangerment.

Heverly is serving a 29-to-58-year state prison sentence for kidnapping, robbery and burglary out of Union County in 2006, according to court records.

Additionally, his criminal record showed burglary convictions in Northumberland County.

Authorities said they believe Kelly was serving a 5-year sentence stemming from a robbery in Allegheny County.

SCI-Mercer is a minimum security prison. It houses approximately 1,500 adult male offenders from all over the commonwealth.