GREENSBURG (KDKA) — It was an emotionally charged morning at the courthouse as Melvin Knight was formally sentenced to the death penalty; the first time that has happened in a Westmoreland County courtroom since 2005.
Knight, 22, pleaded guilty in the torture and stabbing death of 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty; and on Thursday night, a jury decided that he should be put to death.
This morning, Judge Rita Hathaway asked Knight if he had anything to say before she imposed the sentence. He answered no.
She then explained to him his appeal rights and that he would be put to death by lethal injection during a week to be determined by the state.
Knight’s family sobbed in the courtroom as the judge concluded the sentencing by telling Knight, “may God, in his infinite wisdom, have mercy on your soul.”
Knight’s family told him that they loved him as he was led out of the courtroom by sheriff’s deputies.
Among Knight’s family that was present, his 2-year-old daughter, mothered by co-defendant Amber Meidinger.
“Everybody that was involved in everything did their jobs, I think, to the best of their ability,” said Joy Burkholder, Daughtery’s sister. “They were exceptional and you can’t ask people to do a better job. They did beautifully.”
“Maybe this will speak volumes to people, you know, to see that this kind of thing does happen, like, you can’t do things and get away with it,” added Denise Murphy, Daughtery’s mother.
Knight will be incarcerated at the state correctional facility in Rockview, which is in Centre County. He is 203rd inmate on death row in Pennsylvania.