Western Pennsylvania man faces 20 to 40 years in prison, not life, in dad's hammering murder

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EBENSBURG, Pennsylvania — A judge has ruled a western Pennsylvania man committed third-degree murder not first-degree when he hammered his father to death, and will therefore face up to 40 years in prison instead of a life sentence.

Cambria County Judge Timothy Creany ruled Wednesday that 32-year-old Jonathan Kuzma Jr. acted with malice but not premeditation when he killed his 52-year-old namesake during an argument over Kuzma's heroin addiction.

Kuzma pleaded guilty last month after authorities charged that he hit his father twice with the hammer then stabbed him 15 times before taking cash, prescription drugs, and a handgun on Aug. 2, 2013. Prosecutors and Kuzma's attorney left it to the judge to decide the degree of Kuzma's guilt.

Kuzma allegedly bought heroin and called relatives to confess immediately after the killing.

He'll be sentenced Sept. 9.

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