Appeals court upholds life term for central Pennsylvania man convicted of 2013 hammer slaying

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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — An appeals court has upheld the life prison sentence imposed on a central Pennsylvania man convicted of beating another man to death with a hammer more than two years ago.

Fifty-seven-year-old Jonathan Cornish of Harrisburg was convicted of first-degree murder in Dauphin County in the February 2013 slaying of 50-year-old Jose Vazquez.

Police said Cornish beat Vazquez, a friend of his, to death and then struck the victim's brother with the hammer. Cornish testified that he merely found the victim and struck his brother in self-defense. ( ) reports that the Superior Court ruled Monday that prosecutors were justified in showing jurors photos of the victim. The panel also agreed that prosecutors hadn't improperly rejected a black juror who had a prior criminal conviction.

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