GREENSBURG (KDKA) — At least two jurors were in tears Monday morning as they listened to Jennifer Daugherty’s family give emotional accounts of the day they saw her for the final time.
This was the last testimony before prosecutors rested their case.
The victim’s mother, stepfather and sister all took the stand telling the jury about 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty.
Joy Burkholder shared details of the last time she spoke to her sister.
“It’s hard to talk about the worst moments of your life because it’s a very intimate moment and to have to tell so many people about, you know, the one thing that you’re most ashamed of which the last things I said to Jennifer were, ‘I don’t have time for you. You’re being a pain in my butt,’” she told KDKA-TV. “That’s a hard thing to live with.”
It was during that testimony that a friend of Melvin Knight was asked to leave the courtroom.
“She wasn’t laughing, she asked where the bathroom was and if she could go to the bathroom,” a woman outside the courthouse said. “Okay, so you guys can mind your own business.”
Lauren Rice didn’t want to talk to our camera, but later took the stand for the defense, telling the jury that Melvin Knight was easily influenced and gullible.
She described him as both sweet and sad.
Melvin Knight’s attorneys are trying to convince the jury that their client was afraid of Ricky Smyrnes who has been dubbed the ringleader of the so-called “Greensburg 6.”
Smyrnes’ ex-wife, Karina, testified that she was physically abused by her husband and coerced by him to participate in a burglary.
Also taking the stand was a man who identified himself as Melvin Knight’s best friend. He believes Knight is being used as a scapegoat.
“I know my friend Melvin,” Cameron Hall said. “He’s not the sharpest pencil in the box and I know this for a fact because me and him been around each other for a long time. Melvin, he’s a trusting person. He just wants friends. He’s very, very, influential.”
Also testifying today was a special education teacher who taught Melvin Knight in grade school. He told the jury that Melvin Knight was easily influenced and would do anything to make friends.