GREENSBURG (KDKA) – Jurors heard extensive testimony Tuesday from experts in the mental health field as the defense tries to prove that Melvin Knight was driven to murder by a controlling Ricky Smyrnes.
First on the stand was a woman who ran a group home where Smyrnes once lived. She said Smyrnes would frequently take advantage of those less intelligent than him by coercing them to do things.
Dr. Michael McCue, a professor of neuropsychology at Pitt, testified that Knight had an IQ of 96 when tested in 2002. In 2011, his IQ was only 82. The generally accepted standard for being mentally retarded is 70.
Child psychiatrist Dr. Dale Hindmarsh treated Knight at a school for special needs children, who more specifically needed emotional support.
He diagnosed Knight with pervasive developmental disorder, ADHD, paranoid disorder and psychotic disorder over the years.
He described Knight as both “sad” and “slow” as a child. He said that Knight would often do things others told him to do because he couldn’t keep up and process what they were saying.
Knight’s mother was back in the courtroom today as well.
Two young women who have been in court each day to support Knight did not return today after one of the girls testified yesterday on his behalf.