Death penalty trial continues for man who tortured, killed Greensburg woman



GREENSBURG, Pa. - The death penalty trial of a man who's already pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the torture and death of a mentally disabled Greensburg woman continued Tuesday with a neighbor’s testimony.

Melvin Knight pleaded guilty to several charges, including first-degree murder, in April.

A jury will determine whether Knight should be put to death or sentenced to life in prison.

Knight and five others were charged in the February 2010 death of Jennifer Daugherty.

Prosecutors said Knight and five others tied up the woman with Christmas lights and forced her to drink a cocktail of human waste, laundry bleach and prescription drugs before Knight fatally stabbed her in February 2010.

Gloria Haden lived in the apartment below the apartment Duagherty was held captive in. Haden told the jury Tuesday that she “heard some thumping upstairs, like someone was slamming someone on the floor.”

Haden added that testifying is not something that she wanted to do, but she knows she is a key witness.

“If you ask me, they all should get (the death penalty) because it was terrible what they did to that young lady,” Haden said.

Although only two of the defendants face the death penalty, Haden said she thinks all six should. She also said she didn’t realize until days later what had happened in the apartment.

"(Daugherty's murder was) shockingly evil, brutal and depraved, and Knight should die for it," said District Attorney John Peck during opening statements Monday.

Peck added, "Some murders are worse than others. Some defendants are worse than others, and Knight is one of them."

Knight's defense attorney told the jury that Knight had a difficult childhood and never fit in. He said Knight suffers from a "slew" of mental disorders. Knight's attorney said because of the mitigating circumstances, the jury should sentence Knight to life in prison.

Knight has said his guilty plea was "the right thing to do" and is hoping the jury will spare his life as a result.

Knight is the first person out of the six suspects to face a death penalty trial. Angela Marinucci was previously convicted of being the mastermind behind the incident and was sentenced to life in prison.


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