Follow KDKA-TV: Facebook | Twitter
GREENSBURG (KDKA) — With his initial death sentence overturned, Melvin Knight will once again face a jury to decide his punishment.
Knight’s initial death sentence was overturned by a state appellate court.
“You can’t execute a person who is intellectually disabled,” said Tim Dawson, Knight’s defense attorney.
Over the last few days, a panel of six men and six women were chosen for the sentencing retrial of Knight, who pleaded guilty in the torture killing of 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty in 2010. Daughtery’s body was discovered wrapped in Christmas lights, behind a Greensburg school.
The prosecution and defense interviewed more than 100 potential jurors for the case.
Despite the initial verdict of death by lethal injection being reversed on appeal, this new jury can sentence 29-year-old Knight to the same fate.
The defense says their approach to the upcoming trial will be that Knight may have killed, but he’s mental state needs to be taken into account.
Dawson tells KDKA’s Ross Guidotti that after a recent pretrial motions hearing, “We have an expert coming in from D.C., we have an expert coming in from Philadelphia, a forensic psychologist and a forensic neuropsychologist will address the Atkins issue, the issue of intellectual disability adapted functioning and IQ. Melvin, right now, has an extensive mental health history. From age 6, he was in and out of facilities.”
The jury could listen to 60 witnesses between the two parties, to include Angela Marinucci, who was also convicted Daugherty’s murder.
Opening arguments in Knight’s sentencing retrial are scheduled to begin Nov. 5, with proceedings anticipated to last at least a week.