Woman's prison sentence vacated in torture-killing

One of the 'Greensburg six' convicted

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A woman serving life in prison for the torture-slaying of a mentally disabled woman in a squalid Greensburg apartment three years ago will have to be resentenced.

A three-judge panel of state Superior Court ruled Monday that Angela Marinucci's sentence be vacated because of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down mandatory life sentences for juveniles.

Ms. Marinucci, 21, was 17 when prosecutors said she instigated the killing of Jennifer Daugherty, 30, in February 2010, as a member of the so-called "Greensburg Six."

The Superior Court ruling sends the case back to Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Rita Hathaway for a new sentencing hearing, but it boils down to whether she'll ever be eligible for parole.

John Peck, the district attorney in Westmoreland County, said he will again argue for a life sentence with no parole.

Defense attorney Michael DeMatt said he'll introduce mitigating factors, such as Ms. Marinucci's age, education and mental health history, in arguing for the new sentence to include the possibility of parole.

No resentencing will be scheduled until the state Supreme Court hears Mr. DeMatt's appeal for a new trial, which the Superior Court rejected.

Ms. Marinucci was convicted in May 2011 of killing Ms. Daugherty.

Mr. Peck argued at trial that she was among six roommates, one of them her boyfriend, Ricky Smyrnes, who held Ms. Daugherty captive and abused her for two days before one of them, Melvin Knight, knifed her to death.

Mr. Smyrnes, described at trial as the ringleader of the group, is on death row, as is Mr. Knight.

Another ring member, Amber Meidinger, has testified in three trials related to the killing and is awaiting her own trial. She also faces a potential death penalty.

Two others, Peggy Miller and Robert Masters, played lesser roles and are expected to enter guilty pleas.

Mr. Peck contends that Ms. Marinucci and Mr. Smyrnes were the main players in the torture and killing.

Mr. Smyrnes, he said, lured Ms. Daugherty to the apartment he shared with the others and manipulated them into attacking her with the help of Ms. Marinucci, who saw Ms. Daugherty as a romantic rival for Mr. Smyrnes.


Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1510.


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