Killer wants to testify against Pa. accomplice
Published: January 30, 2013
GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A man on death row for the torture-murder of a mentally disabled western Pennsylvania woman wants to testify against his alleged accomplice, who is set to stand trial next week.
Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck tells a judge that 23-year-old Melvin Knight has asked to testify against 26-year-old Ricky Smyrnes.
Peck is seeking the death penalty against Smyrnes in the February 2010 killing of 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty in a dingy Greensburg apartment.
Other defendants have previously testified that Smyrnes bullied and controlled Knight who, prosecutors say, stabbed Daugherty then helped Smyrnes choke her with a string of Christmas lights.
Knight didn't testify at his own two-week sentencing trial in August. He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, but let a jury decide whether he'd receive the death penalty or a life sentence.