Swissvale man hopes torture killing plea spares his life


PITTSBURGH (AP) (AP)ong> - Legal experts said a Swissvale man's guilty plea in the torture slaying of a mentally disabled woman shows he believes his only hope a jury will sentence him to life in prison instead of the death penalty is to acknowledge what he did.

The jury won't have to decide Melvin Knight's guilt when he goes on trial Monday because the 22-year-old from pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in April.

Knight's penalty phase trial in the February 2010 death of 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty in Greensburg is expected to last about 10 days at the Westmoreland County Courthouse.

Witnesses said Daugherty was tied up with Christmas lights and forced to drink a cocktail of human waste, laundry bleach and prescription drugs.

Knight said confessing was "the right thing to do."