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Bracelets memorialize murder victim Jennifer Daugherty

| Friday, April 27, 2012, 12:13 a.m.

A line of people awaited Mary Lynn Padgett's arrival yesterday at The American Coffee Shop in Greensburg with a good cause in mind — memorializing murder victim Jennifer Daugherty.

Daugherty, 30, was brutally killed, and her body was found abandoned Feb. 11 in the parking lot of Greensburg Salem Middle School.

Padgett, proprietor of the Downtown restaurant, opened from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. to give friends and family of Daugherty's a place to accept donations in exchange for memorial bracelets made in her honor.

The navy-blue rubber bracelets are laser-etched with Daugherty's name and the message "Keep Me In Your Heart." Daugherty's cousin, 27-year-old Karl Horman of Ligonier, arranged the fundraiser to support the recovery effort of Daugherty's family.

"It's just a small way to keep her memory alive," said Horman, adding that the money raised will be placed in a bank account to pay for the bracelets and to help support Daugherty's immediate family.

Of 1,000 bracelets purchased from the Houston-based Wristband Connection, about 700 were given out by the end of yesterday's three-hour session, Horman said.

"It's nice to know that people care," said Joy Burkholder, Daugherty's sister.

The remaining 300 bracelets will be available to donors at a memorial meal scheduled from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the East Huntingdon Sportsman's Club in Alverton, Horman said.

"It really has been a good turnout for this," Padgett said yesterday.

Event attendee Stephen Smolleck, 25, of Greensburg, circulated a petition requesting that Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck consider the death penalty as punishment for each of the six suspects arrested in connection with Daugherty's death — Robert Loren Masters Jr., 36; Ricky V. Smyrnes, 23; Melvin Knight, 20; Peggy Darlene Miller, 27; Amber C. Meidinger, 20; and Angela Marinucci, 17.

"I have about 1,000 signatures so far and 1,500 more online. My goal is 6,000, and I hope to get this to Mr. Peck in the next two weeks," Smolleck said.

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