GREENSBURG (KDKA) – One of the so-called “Greensburg Six” was in court Tuesday with several requests for the judge in the case.
Ricky Smyrnes is facing charges in connection with the torture and death of Jennifer Daugherty.
When Westmoreland County Judge Rita Hathaway ruled that finding a jury to hear the Smyrnes’ death penalty case in Westmoreland County would be too difficult, the state Supreme Court agreed to move jury selection to Beaver County.
But on Tuesday, the judge reversed her decision after hearing that like Westmoreland, Beaver County is in the same media market.
Defense attorney Michael Diriso was disappointed when the high court chose Beaver County.
“They get the similar papers. They’re well aware of what’s going on,” he said. “So, I don’t think it was a good choice to go there, and I think it’s a lateral move to go to Beaver County. We would like to have gone to Philadelphia or Erie.”
Daugherty’s stepfather doesn’t care where the jury comes from.
“They could go to Austin, Texas, and pick a jury, and with the evidence they got against him, he will be found guilty without a shadow of a doubt,” said Bob Murphy, Daughterty’s stepfather.
Jury selection will begin in Westmoreland County in October.
Smyrnes is considered one of the alleged ringleaders in the torture and slaying of Daughterty.
After hearing the trial date, Smyrnes asked the judge for permission to fire his attorneys. Smyrnes says he’s not ready for trial, blaming severe mental health problems and the lack of proper medication. Plus, he claims jail guards are telling him he needs to take his own life.
Attorney Diriso says Smyrnes has multiple personalities and serious psychiatric problems.
“His mother was on narcotics and was a prostitute, and would pimp him out at the age of 6,” he said of his client. “This man has lived a tortured life.”
Judge Hathaway denied Smyrnes request to fire his attorneys and to delay the trial. She said the prison psychiatrist will look at his medication and told him there are no luxuries in jail.
“All inmates have a rough time, like the judge told him; it’s not a country club,” added Murphy.
Angela Marinucci was convicted of first-degree murder in the case in May, which carries a mandatory life sentence.
The district attorney plans to seek the death penalty against Knight and Amber Meidinger as well.
Also charged are Peggy Miller and Robert Masters.