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New trial denied to woman accused of teenage mother’s death

ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania. (AP) — A woman convicted as a teenager of killing her mother almost eight years ago in eastern Pennsylvania has lost her bid for a new trial.

Jamie Silvonek, who turns 22 next month, was 14 when he was murdered in March 2015. She was sentenced to 35 years to life after pleading guilty in Lehigh County to first-degree murder and other charges.

A state Supreme Court bench on Thursday upheld the lower court’s refusal to dismiss her guilty plea on the grounds that her attorney was ineffective and the plea was not informed and voluntary.

The Philadelphia Juvenile Law Center, which represented her, vowed to appeal. “We plan to seek a review in the (Pennsylvania) Supreme Court,” spokeswoman Cathy Otto told The (Allentown) Morning Call in an email.

Silvonek testified that she planned the murder of 54-year-old Cheryl Silvonek in the town of Upper Makungi, and in the texts encouraged Caleb Barnes to carry it out. Barnes of El Paso, Texas, a Fort Meade, Maryland soldier, was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 22 to 44 years.

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