Closings set in death phase of torture case

February 28, 2013

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Closing arguments were expected to begin in the death penalty phase of a western Pennsylvania man found guilty of first-degree murder and other charges for orchestrating the torture and killing of a mentally disabled woman three years ago.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck has said life in prison would be “woefully inadequate” for 26-year-old Ricky Smyrnes.

But defense attorney Terrance Faye contends Smyrnes doesn’t deserve to die because he suffers from limited intelligence and mental problems stemming from his abusive childhood after his birth to a drug-addicted prostitute and a gang member.

The victim, 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty of Mount Pleasant, was beaten, humiliated and abused by a group of people, including one already serving a life sentence and another on death row. Three people remain charged and have not gone on trial.



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