Wecht: Greensburg torture, slaying victim 'suffered greatly' before death



GREENSBURG, Pa. - Dr. Cyril Wecht testified on Thursday against a man who tortured and killed a mentally disabled Greenburg woman.

Wecht said he performed Jennifer Daugherty's autopsy and said, "She suffered greatly in the hours before her death."

Melvin Knight, 22, and five others are accused of torturing Daugherty for two days before Knight stabbed her to death.

Wecht told the jury that the scratches, cuts and bruises Daugherty suffered during the torture and beating were physically and emotionally devastating.

“These are injuries that would have produced very significant pain, physical as well as emotional suffering,” Wecht said.

Police said Knight then stabbed Daugherty seven times.  Wecht said Daugherty lived for a few minutes after those stab wounds were inflicted.

Knight has already pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Daugherty's February 2010 death. A jury is hearing testimony before it decides his sentence.

On Wednesday, co-defendant Amber Meidinger told the court Melvin carried Daugherty into the bathroom of a Greensburg apartment and stabbed and choked her after a "family meeting" at which six defendants voted to kill her following two days of brutal abuse.

Meidinger was cross-examined by Knight’s attorneys on Thursday. They questioned her about her story changing from the time she first talked to police until now.

The defense also questioned Meidinger’s memory and brought up the fact that she suffers from depression and bipolar disease.

Meidinger, who was crying as she got off the stand, told Daugherty’s parents as she was leaving the courtroom, "I'm sorry. I'm just so sorry."

Meidinger and three others await trial. A fifth assailant was sentenced to life last year.

On a side note, a juror was dismissed from the trial Thursday. No reason was given, but officials said the juror had previously complained to the judge about reading or hearing about the case.