Here's what's trending for January 22.


Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub says a man has confessed to a 2004 murder. "The defendant who has been charged in his murder, Daman Smoot, hit him in the back of the head with a baseball bat and then to ensure that he died, covered his nose and his mouth until he was sure he was no longer breathing," Weintraub says. Weintraub says Smoot was Adam Brundage's roommate when he killed him and buried the body at the Haines and Kibblehouse Quarry in Hilltown Township. The DA says Smoot was jealous of Brundage's life and essentially assumed that life after killing Brundage. As part of a plea deal, Smoot led investigators to Brundage's remains and will be sentenced to 20-to-40 years in prison. Smoot was already behind bars on unrelated domestic abuse charges.

A 20-year-old Fountain Hill woman is accused of stealing a man's car during a drug deal and then crashing it into a home on Wyandotte Street in Bethlehem. Police say Tiana Lopez and a juvenile arranged to buy marijuana from a man. When Lopez and the juvenile entered the man's car, the juvenile took the marijuana and fled. When the man chased the teen, Lopez allegedly stole the car, picked up the juvenile and eventually hit a parked car and then the home.

Friends and family say children't TV host Gene London has died. He was the host of Philadelphia children's show "Cartoon Corners" also known as "The Gene London Show" in the 1960s and 1970s. He lived in Reading for the last few years. Gene London was 88.

The National Motorists Association is opposing Pennsylvania's efforts to install work zone speed cameras. They think the cameras are just a money grab. Sheila Dunn is with the association. "Well, a lot of communities put these cameras in just to make more money to balance their budget. So once you get that cameras in you say 'oh...we're so much safer,' but are they?" Dunn says. A PennDOT spokesperson says the cameras are a good way to get people to slow down when entering a highway construction area.

Former Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer's request for a lighter prison sentence has been denied. A federal appeals court upheld the eight year sentence he received for his federal bribery conviction. Spencer's lawyers argued that the sentence should have been cut in half, claiming the judge in Spencer's trial misapplied two sentencing guidelines that added time to his punishment. Spencer is locked up at a minimum security prison in Kentucky.

A Commonwealth Court judge is lifting a ban on state officials seizing some skill games in Pennsylvania. The ruling lifts an emergency stay that was imposed last month following raids in Dauphin and Cumberland counties that netted machines at five different establishments. The maker of the game claims their game was different than other skill games because it relies more on the player's skill than luck.

Four Penn State fraternity brothers are accused of sexually assaulting a student. University Police say the alleged crime was reported online on January 21st. But the crime is said to have happened at the Alpha Epsilon Phi fraternity in State College on January 15th. Authorities are withholding more details for now.

St. Rep. Mike Tobash says he isn't running for re-election. The Republican, who serves parts of Dauphin and Schuylkill counties, says this will be his last term in office. Tobash has spent ten years in Harrisburg and told supporters he believes careers should be dedicated to the private sector and not to elected positions.

Defendants won't be able to use a gay and transgender panic defense anymore in New Jersey murder cases. Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law Tuesday that bans suspects from arguing in court that a victim's identity or perceived identity during a heat of the moment incident is a defense to murder charges. In the past, defense attorneys have been successful getting their clients' murder charges downgraded to manslaughter using this defense.

A permanent ban on flavored vaping products is now law in the Garden State. According to the governor's office, New Jersey is the first state in the nation to enact such a ban which takes effect on April 20th. Gov. Phil Murphy, who signed the bill into law Tuesday, says flavored electronic cigarettes are extremely appealing, especially to children and he's charged with protecting the health of state residents. There have been numerous vaping deaths and injuries nationwide. Critics say vaping has helped some quit smoking and vape shop owners say they may force some shops to close.

New Jersey is sending a team of state police to Puerto Rico to help the island commonwealth following the recent rash of devastating earthquakes. Gov. Phil Murphy has authorized the seven trooper team to fly out today and then to deploy in Puerto Rico to help with recovery efforts. Those troops are expected to return in February.

New Jersey now has an official dog and it's been named as such based on what it does to help humans in need. Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law Tuesday naming the Seeing-Eye Dog as New Jersey's official canine. It also happens that the Seeing Eye service dog training organization has been based in the Garden State since 1931. The governor calls Seeing-Eye dogs dedicated companions who embody the spirit of New Jerseyans, which he describes as loyal, hard working and committed to service.