JOHNSTOWN, Pa.—The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal filed on behalf of a former death row inmate who was released but was sent back to prison two years ago on a parole violation.

Fifty-six-year-old Ernest Simmons won a new trial in the 1992 slaying of Anna Knaze but pleaded no contest to third-degree murder. He was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in that case and two 1984 assaults and was paroled but was reincarcerated after allegations of threats at a Clearfield County hospital.

The Supreme Court said the threats weren't relayed and no action was taken to implement them.

Defense attorney Thomas Dickey told The (Johnstown) Tribune-Democrat ( that his client was just blowing off steam and the high court's decision is a "major step."


Information from: The Tribune-Democrat,