Man guilty in Westmoreland County torture-murder

February 14, 2013

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A western Pennsylvania jury says a man charged with orchestrating the torture and killing of a mentally disabled woman is guilty of first-degree murder.

The Westmoreland County jury must now decide if 26-year-old Ricky Smyrnes deserves the death penalty or life in prison. Those deliberations are expected to begin on Tuesday.

Smyrnes’ attorney Michael DeRiso has argued his client has limited intelligence.

But prosecutors say Smyrnes instigated the 2010 murder of 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty, a mentally challenged woman from Mount Pleasant.

She was beaten, humiliated and abused by six people, including one already sentenced to life in prison and another to death.

Three other defendants remain charged.



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