Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Da Presses for Death Penalty in Greensburg Torture Killing

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Da Presses for Death Penalty in Greensburg Torture Killing

Article excerpt

A man who with five others held a mentally disabled woman captive in a dingy apartment more than two years ago should receive the death penalty for her "cruel and shockingly evil" torture murder, a district attorney said to open the man's penalty phase trial today.

But an attorney for 22-year-old Melvin Knight said his client had psychological and learning problems that allowed him to "be sucked into" the chain of events leading to the February 2010 death of 30- year-old Jennifer Daugherty in Greensburg.

A Westmoreland County jury is expected to hear two weeks of testimony before deciding whether Mr. Knight gets the death penalty or life imprisonment. He pleaded guilty in April to first-degree murder.

Mr. Knight apologized for his role when he pleaded guilty, acknowledging that he stabbed Daugherty seven times in the neck and upper chest before helping another man, Ricky Smyrnes, 25, choke her with Christmas lights.

Still, District Attorney John Peck told the jury Mr. …

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