MERCER — An inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Mercer has been charged with killing his cellmate Monday

Darl James Heverly Jr., 35, was arraigned just before 11 a.m. today before Magisterial District Judge Daniel Davis of Mercer on charges of criminal homicide, aggravated assault, assault by prisoner, simple assault and reckless endangerment.

Heverly is accused by Pennsylvania State Police at Mercer of strangling his cellmate, Jason A. Kelly, 35, late Monday night within the cell the two men shared.

State police were called to the state prison at 8:50 p.m. Monday for the report of Kelly being found dead within his cell.

The investigation found Heverly had used pieces of a torn bed sheet to strangle Kelly inside the cell, police said. The two men were being housed within the same cell at the restricted housing unit at the prison, police said.

Online court records show Kelly was in the state prison in Mercer serving a sentence from Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas while Heverly was serving a sentence from Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas.

Following arraignment this morning, Heverly was placed in the Mercer County Jail where he is being held without bond on the homicide and related charges.

Homicide is a nonbondable offense under Pennsylvania law.

Heverly is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on the homicide case Dec. 16 in Mercer.

State Police were assisted on the scene by SCI Mercer staff and the Mercer County Coroner's office, police said. 

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