Share This Page

Greensburg teen to be tried as adult in Daugherty murder

An 18-year-old woman accused of ganging up with five other suspects to kill a mentally challenged woman in a Greensburg apartment will be tried as an adult.

Defense Attorney Michael DeMatt, who represents Angela Marinucci, this morning withdrew a petition to have her case transferred to juvenile court in the February 2010 death of Jennifer Daugherty, who was beaten, tortured for more than two days and then stabbed.

Daugherty's body, tied with Christmas decorations and wrapped in garbage bags, was found in a garbage can at the parking lot of Greensburg Salem Middle School on Feb. 11.

“After reviewing everything and speaking with my client, we decided it was not in her best interest to proceed” with the transfer, DeMatt said following a brief hearing before Westmoreland County Judge Rita Hathaway.

Marinucci took the stand to testify that she understood and agreed with her attorney's decision.

“I felt comfortable to deny (withdraw),” she told Hathaway.

Bobby Murphy, Daugherty's step-father, said, “It's a tremendous victory for the family and for Jennifer.”

Joy Burkholder, Daugherty's sister, said Marinucci “will not be put to death ... if she doesn't want to spend her life in jail, she shouldn't kill people.”

District Attorney John Peck, who is seeking the death penalty against three of the suspects, was not immediately available for comment.

Marinucci, a former Greensburg Salem High School student who was 17 years old at the time of Daugherty's murder, is not eligible for the death penalty due to her age.

She was living with the five other suspects who allegedly abused and murdered Daugherty when she came to their apartment for a visit.

Marinucci, along with Ricky V. Smyrnes, 24; Melvin Knight, 20; Amber Meidinger, 20; Peggy Darlene Miller, 27; and Robert Loren Masters, 36, are charged with first-degree homicide, kidnapping and related charges.

Peck is seeking the death penalty against Smyrnes, Knight and Meidinger.

Marinucci has a history of mental illness and no prior criminal record, according to DeMatt.

“If a plea deal is out there, I would be more than happy to explore all options,” DeMatt said. “We are preparing for trial.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.