2 Psychiatrists Take Stand In Melvin Knight Trial
GREENSBURG (KDKA) – Jurors heard from two psychiatrists who have evaluated Melvin Knight Wednesday morning.
One doctor was a witness for the defense, the other a rebuttal witness for the prosecution, who testified out of order due to time constraints.
Dr. Robert Wettstein, a defense witness, testified about a long history of mental problems that could have contributed to Knight’s behavior. On cross examination, prosecutors pressed the doctor about a recent situation at the Westmoreland County Jail where Knight threatened a guard who was trying to take items out of his cell.
He told the guard he had people on the outside who would kill him. He said these people would blow up the guard’s house with his family inside.
Dr. Bruce Wright, a prosecution witness, testified that Knight had, “very significant behavior problems” dating back to his early school years.
He evaluated Knight over the summer where he made statements that contradicted his defense that he was afraid of Ricky Smyrnes.
“I am defiant when I’m given an order,” Knight told the psychiatrist. “I refuse to follow an order.”
Knight told the psychiatrist that he turned off the bathroom light before killing 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty because he didn’t want to watch himself kill someone.
Knight went on to tell the psychiatrist that he was afraid of Smyrnes saying, “There was threats made to everyone. If anyone left, he would kill them.”
The psychiatrist asked Knight what he would like to tell the jury to which Knight replied, “I’m sorry for what I’ve done. If there was a way to turn back time, I wouldn’t have done what I did. I would have stopped it from happening.”
Also today, jurors learned that Knight is a father of two. He has a 5-year old daughter who is in foster care and a younger child with Amber Meidinger, who is being cared for by Knight’s mother.
Knight previously pleaded guilty to the torture and murder of Daugherty.
He told one psychiatrist that he initially went to the Pennsylvania Avenue apartment because he needed a can opener to open his food.
At the time, he only knew two of the so-called “Greensburg 6”being his fiancé, Meidinger, and Smyrnes, who he had met in jail.
He said it all began with him “bonking” people on the head with an empty water bottle and the situation escalated quickly.
Knight faces the death penalty or life in prison.