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Woman convicted in Greensburg torture case faces 3rd sentencing hearing

September 19, 2018

A third sentencing hearing for a Greensburg woman convicted for her role in the 2010 torture slaying of a mentally disabled woman will be held next summer.

Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rita Hathaway said after a hearing Monday that she will hear evidence and arguments sometime in June to determine another sentence for Angela Marinucci.

Marinucci, now 26, has twice been sentenced to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole for her part in the stabbing death of 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty.

Pennsylvania appeal courts have twice vacated her sentence saying it was improper for a defendant who was not yet 18 at the time of her arrest to be sentenced to life in prison without parole. Marinucci was 17 when she was arrested along with five other Greensburg roommates after Daugherty’s body was found wrapped in Christmas lights and garland, stuffed into a trash can and left under a truck in a snow-covered parking lot.

Prosecutors said Marinucci lured Daugherty to Greensburg and initiated her beating. The group held her captive for more than two days. During that time Daugherty was tortured and eventually stabbed to death.

Marinucci was convicted of first-degree murder and other offenses in 2011 by a Westmoreland County jury. Following her trial, Hathaway imposed what was then a mandatory life prison sentence. Since that time, state lawmakers have eliminated mandatory life sentences for juvenile offenders. Juveniles convicted of first-degree murder after 2012 face a mandatory sentence of 35 years in prison to life.

Because Marinucci was convicted prior to the new law she was eligible to receive a life sentence with no possibility of parole. That’s the penalty imposed again by Hathaway after a second sentencing hearing in 2015. Last year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that life without parole can only be imposed on juvenile defendants in the most serious cases and ordered another hearing be conducted to determine Marinucci’s sentence.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said he has not decided if he will seek another life without parole sentence for Marinucci.

“We’re still evaluating the case and we have no recommendation at this time,” Peck said.

Peck argued three years ago that Marinucci was not a candidate to be successfully rehabilitated while in prison and has never taken responsibility for her actions.

But the defense said Marinucci sustained head trauma two years before Daugherty’s death, a injury that led her to spiral out of control. Since her time in prison, Marinucci changed her behavior and the defense argued during the 2015 resentencing hearing that she could eventually qualify for parole, if permitted.

Defense attorney Michael DeMatt said Monday he will review Marinucci’s record during her last eight years of incarceration in an attempt to convince the judge she should allow for the possibility of parole in the future.

Marinucci was the first of the six Greensburg roommates to be convicted for Daugherty’s murder. Ricky Smyrnes, 31, and Melvin Knight, 28, were sentenced to death for their roles in the slaying. Knight’s death sentence has since been overturned and another jury will be empaneled in October to decide if he should again be ordered to die by lethal injection or serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Amber Meidinger, 28, Peggy Miller, 35; and Robert Masters, 44, pleaded guilty to lesser charges and were each sentenced to serving decades in prison.

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