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8 jurors picked for resentencing trial in Greensburg murder case

November 20, 2018

The attorney for a Swissvale man awaiting a new sentencing trial to determine if he lives or dies will not withdraw his guilty plea from six years ago.

Defense attorney Tim Dawson said Monday that Melvin Knight, 29, abandoned his effort to ask a jury determine his guilt for the 2010 torture slaying of a mentally disabled woman in a Greensburg apartment. Westmoreland County prosecutors said Knight was one of six roommates who tortured and killed 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty.

Knight previously asked that his guilty plea to a count of first-degree murder be withdrawn. He pleaded guilty in 2012 and during a sentencing trial later that year unsuccessfully argued to have his life spared. An appeals court in 2016 vacated Knight’s death sentence and ordered another trial be convened to determine his penalty.

Jury selection for Knight’s new sentencing trial started Monday when 70 prospective panelists were questioned before Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rita Hathaway. Eight jurors were selected for the death penalty case on Monday.

Jury selection will continue Tuesday. Testimony in the trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 5.

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