GREENSBURG (KDKA) — His initial death sentence was overturned, but Melvin Knight is once again facing a jury, which will decide his punishment.
Knight, one of the so-called “Greensburg 6,” previously 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.
Knight’s initial death sentence was overturned by a state appellate court. Despite that reversal, this new jury can sentence Knight to the same fate.
The penalty retrial began on Monday with the prosecution arguing that Knight should be put to death. District Attorney John Peck addressed the jury and said this was a depraved, despicable and evil act that deserves the death penalty.
“Some murders are worse than most murders. Some defendants are worse than others. The only appropriate punishment is death. Use your wisdom, courage and strength,” Peck said.
Meanwhile, the defense says Knight was involved, but he didn’t murder Daugherty. They also cited mitigating factors, including Knight having a limited mental capacity.
“You cannot execute an intellectually disabled individual,” Tim Dawson, Knight’s defense attorney, said.
Dawson told the jury they have to put passions aside and just apply the law. In the defense’s opinion, Knight should not have to face the death penalty because he is considered mentally ill, or mentally incapable of understanding what he did.
“We’re bringing in two renowned experts from out-of-state to support our quest for a life sentence,” Dawson said.
Last week, a panel of six men and six women were chosen for the sentencing retrial.
The prosecution and defense interviewed more than 100 potential jurors for the case.
The jury could listen to 60 witnesses between the two parties, to include Angela Marinucci, who was also convicted Daugherty’s murder.
Proceedings anticipated to last at least a week.