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Pa. man on trial for torture killing

Feb. 6, 2013 at 5:28 PM   |   Comments

GREENSBURG, Pa., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- A neighbor testified Wednesday she heard "slamming" from the apartment above where a mentally challenged Pennsylvania woman was allegedly held captive.

Floria Headen was on the stand during the third day of Ricky Smyrnes' capital murder trial in Greensburg, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. Smyrnes, 26, formerly of Irwin and McKeesport, was allegedly the ringleader in the torture and death of Jennifer Daugherty, 30, a mentally challenged Mount Pleasant woman.

"I heard something on the floor like somebody was slamming the body onto the floor," Headen told a Westmoreland County jury.

Daugherty's body was found stuffed into a trash can under a truck in the parking lot at the Greensburg Salem Middle School in February 2010. Prosecutors allege Smyrnes, who could face the death penalty if convicted, and his five roommates held her prisoner in their Greensburg apartment, tortured her and then killed her.

Greensburg Detective Jerry Vernail testified Tuesday Smyrnes went up to investigators after the body was found and asked "What's going on?" Smyrnes and his girlfriend, Angela Marinucci, appeared to have no concern about Daugherty, Vernail said.

Two people have already been convicted and sentenced, Melvin Knight, 23, to death and Marinucci, 20, to life in prison. Amber

Meidinger, 23, has already testified for the prosecution against Knight and Marinucci and is likely to testify at Smyrnes' trial.

Two other defendants have been trying to negotiate plea agreements.

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