• Co-Defendant: Fake Text Messages Lured Torture, Slaying Victim To Apartment

    GREENSBURG, Pa.,None - Courtney Brennan small photo Courtney Brennan Courtney Brennan is in Greensburg covering the trial. Her updates will be highlighted in bold text below.

    The trial continues for a woman accused in the torture and slaying of a mentally disabled woman in Greensburg in February 2010.

    Amber Meidinger testified Friday against then-17-year-old Angela Marinucci, who's charged in Jennifer Daugherty's killing. Meidinger is also charged in the case. She said Marinucci put the slaying in motion because she believed Daugherty was pursuing her boyfriend, Robert Smyrnes, 25, who's also charged.

    It was revealed in court on Friday that Daugherty was lured to the apartment where she was eventually killed.

    Meidinger told the jury that Marinucci got Daugherty to the apartment by sending her text messages from Smyrners phone. The defense questioned Meidinger for six hours, while she cried uncontrollably at times.

    Meidinger said she is going against the advice of her attorney by telling the jury what happened to Daugherty. She explained how the Greensburg six held "family meetings" to discuss Daugherty's fate.

    In the first meeting, Meidinger said, "Ricky Smyrnes wanted to know who would be an appropriate mother for his child...Jen or Angie." In the second meeting, Meidinger said Marincucci told Smyrnes, "You have to choose between me and Jen." In the third meeting, Meidinger said all six defendants voted to kill Daugherty.

    Brennan reported Thursday that Meidinger broke down during her testimony and revealed shocking details of what happened to Daugherty.

    Meidinger said that she saw Melvin Knight rape Daugherty and that police stopped by the house during Daugherty's torture, but they hid her so police didn't know what was going on.

    Meidinger said, "Jen was nice and sweet and would do anything for anybody. She trusted all of them. They wanted to embarrass and humiliate Jennifer. They called her a retard."

    Meidinger said Marinucci told another suspect to kill Jennifer Daugherty after the victim had survived slash and stab wounds while being tortured.

    Prosecutors said Marinucci was the instigator of the savage slaying of Daugherty, whose body was found in a garbage container in a school parking lot in Greensburg.

    Meidinger said she made no deal with prosecutors in return for testifying.

    Marinucci is being tried separately on first-degree murder charges, because she was only 17 at the time of the incident.

    Prosecutors intend to pursue the death penalty against Smyrnes, Knight and Meidinger, 21. He doesn't intend to seek the death penalty against the two other defendants -- Peggy Miller, 28, and Robert Masters, 36.

    Prosecutors can't pursue the death penalty against Marinucci, because she was a juvenile at the time of the crime.

    FRIDAY UPDATES (Trial will resume on Monday)

    UPDATE: 3:14 p.m. - Defense just finished cross examination of Amber Meidinger. They grilled her for almost six hours.

    Meidinger said the six suspects planned to escape from jail the day of her preliminary hearing.

    The prosecution will redirect in 10 minutes.

    UPDATE: 12:10 p.m. - Trial breaks for lunch. Meidinger continues testimony at 1:30 p.m.

    UPDATE: 11:30 a.m. - Meidinger breaks down on and cries uncontrollably, says she's testifying because it's the least she can do, because she can't bring Jen back.

    UPDATE: 10:45 a.m. - Meidinger said there were three "family meetings" held prior to Daugherty's killing. During the first meeting, she said Smyrnes wanted to figure out who would be a good mother figure for his son, Daugherty or Marinucci.

    In the second meeting, Meidinger said Marinucci told Smyrnes that he had to choose between her or Daugherty.

    In the third meeting, Meidinger said all six housemates voted to kill Daugherty.

    UPDATE: 10:06 a.m. - About a week before the killing, Meidinger said Marinucci lured Daugherty to the apartment with text messages. She said Marinucci used Smyrnes' phone and pretended to be him, sending messages that included, "Come to the house," and "We'll talk about getting married," according to Channel 11's Courtney Brennan, who is in court covering the case.

    Brennan is also posting updates to her Twitter account. Click Here to go to the page.

    Previous Stories: May 12, 2011: Inmates Say Greensburg Slaying Suspect 'Likes' Media Attention May 11, 2011: Jailhouse Witness Takes Stand In Greensburg Torture, Slaying Case May 9, 2011: DA: Teen Was 'Instigator' In Disabled Woman's Death

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