Teen to get new sentence for role in torture killing

Aug. 27, 2013 at 2:00 PM
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GREENSBURG, Pa., Aug. 27 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania woman may have a life sentence reduced but her murder conviction will stand after torturing and killing a mentally disabled woman, lawyers said.

Angela Marinucci, now 21, of Greensburg, Pa.., was convicted of first-degree murder after prosecutors said she was one of six roommates in an apartment where they lured 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty, who is mentally disabled, held her captive for two days beating and torturing her before stabbing her to death and stuffing her body in a garbage tote.

Prosecutors said Marinucci and Daugherty were part of a love triangle with another of Marinucci's roommates, Ricky Smyrnes, 27. Smyrnes and a third roommate, Melvin Knight, 23, have both been convicted and sentenced to death for their roles in the killing, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review said Monday.

A fourth roommate, Amber Meidinger, 23, is awaiting trial and faces the death penalty if convicted. Two other roommates have taken guilty pleas to lesser charges.

An appeals court granted Marinucci a new sentencing hearing because she was given life without parole as a mandatory sentence though she was only 17 at the time the crime took place. The U.S. Supreme Court has deemed mandatory life sentences for juveniles unconstitutional.

Still, prosecutors said they will argue mandatory or not, life in prison without parole is the appropriate sentence for Marinucci, who they say played a key role in Daugherty's death.

"Because of the horrific nature of the crime and the clear participation of Marinucci, it warrants a life sentence," Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said. "There was considerable evidence she was the primary motivation in bringing about Jennifer's death. Without her, Jennifer's death may not have occurred."

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