The final two suspects pleaded guilty Thursday in the torture-killing of a mentally disabled woman in Greensburg four years ago, bringing prosecutors one step closer to concluding the case.
Robert Masters Jr., 39, and Peggy Miller, 30, were said to play more minor roles than the other four people charged alongside them in the kidnapping, beating and fatal stabbing of Jennifer Daugherty.
Mr. Masters and Ms. Miller pleaded guilty Thursday to third-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit homicide.
Their sentencings before Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Rita Hathaway in 90 days will complete prosecution on the cases. Each faces 50 to 100 years in prison.
"Very early on, it was clear that the prosecution needed additional evidence which could really only be supplied by the participants, so this deal was offered to them almost four years ago," Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said Thursday afternoon.
Mr. Peck said the prosecution was challenging because his office sought the death penalty against some of the defendants.
"It was also a difficult prosecution because the crimes were so horrible and so brutal," Mr. Peck said. "You don't really get satisfaction because this poor woman was killed and her parents and family are still devastated by her death."
Attorneys representing Mr. Masters and Ms. Miller did not respond to requests for comment Thursday afternoon.
Officials said six roommates held Daugherty in a Greensburg apartment, beating her and forcing her to drink mixtures of bodily fluids and cleaning chemicals before one, Melvin Knight, fatally stabbed her.
Knight, 24, and another roommate, Ricky Smyrnes, 27, were sentenced to death. Another, Angela Marinucci, who was 17 at the time and therefore ineligible for the death penalty, received a life sentence. Amber Meidinger, 23, is awaiting sentencing and faces 40 to 80 years in prison.
Liz Navratil: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil.
First Published December 19, 2013 2:41 PM