Wife of Pa. club slaying suspect facing charges

EASTON, Pa. (AP) – The wife of a suspect in a deadly eastern Pennsylvania shooting is now facing federal charges because authorities allege she tried to hire someone to assassinate witnesses.

Northampton County prosecutors said Friday that Sonia Panell hired a hit man from Ohio to kill three witnesses who’d be testifying against her husband. The man was a confidential informant who contacted the FBI.

Panell’s husband, Rene Figueroa, is one of two men charged in the December 2012 shoot-out at a Bethlehem social club. A woman died and five other people were injured.

The murder trial for Figueroa and co-defendant Javier Rivera-Alvarado was to begin March 3. It’s now moved to July 7 because of these new developments.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Figueroa, who they say fired the fatal shot.

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