Prosecutor: Disabled Pa. woman who was tortured, killed was also raped; death penalty sought

A prosecutor says a mentally disabled Pennsylvania woman who was tortured and killed was raped in the process.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck filed court documents Tuesday supporting his decision to pursue the death penalty against 24-year-old Ricky Smyrnes, 20-year-old Melvin Knight and 20-year-old Amber Meidinger.

Peck said this month he would seek the death penalty in the killing of 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty because it occurred in connection with unspecified felonies.

Peck alleged Tuesday that Smynes and Knight raped her and that all three assaulted and kidnapped her. They have pleaded not guilty and been ordered to stand trial.

Knight's attorney says he knew nothing about rape allegations. Attorneys for the other two did not immediately return phone calls.


Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,