Woman convicted in torture-murder scheduled for evaluation
September 1, 2014 12:00 AM
By Molly Born / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A psychiatrist this month will evaluate a woman serving life in prison for the 2010 torture-killing of a mentally disabled woman before she is resentenced.
A three-judge panel of the state Superior Court ruled last August that Angela Marinucci’s sentence must be vacated because of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down mandatory life sentences for juveniles.
Now 22, Marinucci was a 17-year-old high school student when she and five others were charged with torturing and murdering Jennifer Daugherty, 30. She was convicted in May 2011 and is serving a life term without parole at SCI Cambridge Springs in Crawford County.
A hearing to resentence her, originally scheduled for last Wednesday, has been postponed until prosecution psychiatrist Bruce Wright can evaluate her Sept. 13. Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said Dr. Wright will offer his opinion on several factors, including her capacity or potential for rehabilitation.
Mr. Peck, who has said Marinucci incited the torture, is seeking the same sentence.
Defense attorney Michael DeMatt said Marinucci objected to the evaluation. He said he hopes Dr. Wright will recognize that she is amenable to rehabilitation.
“Our goal is simply to give her the opportunity to rehabilitate and to be a productive member of society and make something of her life despite what happened when she was 17,” he said.
Mr. DeMatt said last year that he’ll introduce mitigating factors, such as Marinucci’s age, education and mental health background, in arguing for the new sentence to include the possibility of parole.
The district attorney’s office contends co-defendant Ricky Smyrnes lured Ms. Daugherty to the Greensburg apartment he shared with the others and manipulated them into attacking her and that Marinucci instigated the abuse because she was jealous of Ms. Daugherty’s romantic interest in him.
Melvin Knight and Smyrnes, who was described at trial as the group’s ringleader, are on death row. Robert Masters and Peggy Miller, who played lesser roles in the crime, and Amber Meidinger are serving varying prison terms.
Molly Born: email@example.com or 412-263-1944.
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