• Death penalty phase opens in Greensburg torture-murder


    GREENSBURG, Pa. - The death penalty phase of a trial has opened for a man found guilty of orchestrating the torture and killing of a mentally disabled Greensburg woman three years ago.

    Prosecutors said Tuesday that life in prison would be "woefully inadequate" for 26-year-old Ricky Smyrnes. He was convicted of first-degree murder last week and now faces either the death penalty or life in prison.

    Channel 11’s Courtney Brennan reported that District Attorney John Peck told the jury that Smyrnes “knew what he was doing and deserves to die.”

    But defense attorney Terrance Faye said Smyrnes doesn't deserve to die because he suffers from mental illness.

    Brennan reported that the defense argued that Smyrnes is mentally challenged and was severely physically and sexually abused as a child.

    The defense argued that Smyrnes suffers from multiple personalities disorder and he has at least seven different personalities.

    Brennan reported that a 26-year-old woman testified that she was raped by Smyrnes when they were both 10.

    Brennan said another testimony was from a former neighbor of Smyrnes who said he broke into her home when he was a boy and did $12,000 worth of damage.

    The victim, 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty of Mount Pleasant, was beaten, humiliated and abused by a group of people, including one already serving a life sentence and another on death row. Three people remain charged and have not gone on trial.

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