GREENSBURG (KDKA) – One of Ricky Smyrnes’ co-defendants took the stand today for the prosecution to testify against him.
Amber Meidinger appeared with her hair in a ponytail. She was wearing a yellow cable knit sweater, white shirt and baggy gray dress pants with tennis shoes.
She appeared with the same solemn demeanor as she has in the past, but spoke less slowly this time. She also divulged more details than ever before about how she says the so-called “Greensburg 6” tortured and then killed 30-year old Jennifer Daugherty in February 2010.
Meidinger began by telling the jury why she had chosen to testify despite being advised against it by her attorney:
“Personally it’s to tell the jury and also the family what happened,” Meidinger said.
She said she wanted to give the family closure.
Meidinger said she knew Daugherty from an activity center for the mentally disabled in Greensburg. She said she had been dating Melvin Knight for a while and the two had been in and out of homeless shelters together.
Meidinger said she met the rest of the “Greensburg 6” at the train station just hours before the murder.
She ended up at the Pennsylvania Avenue apartment because she and Melvin were hungry and needed a can opener to eat their vegetables.
Meidinger described a love triangle between Smyrnes, Angela Marinucci and Jennifer Daugherty. Marinucci was convicted of first degree murder and is currently serving a life sentence. She was ineligible for the death penalty because of her age.
Meidinger said the torture began when Smyrnes and Knight began hitting Daugherty in the head with empty soda bottles and she called them a name. That’s when Knight, who is currently on death row, choked her against a wall.
The abuse continued in the bathroom where Marinucci and Meidinger “forcefully pushed” Daugherty into a metal towel rack after accusing her of liking their men.
Defense attorney Mike DeRiso repeatedly objected to Meidinger’s testimony saying that prosecutor Chuck Washburn was leading the witness.
Judge Rita Hathaway repeatedly overruled the objections and allowed the testimony to continue.
Meidinger testified that she does not have a plea deal in place.