By Associated Press - Saturday, March 5, 2016

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A judge has rejected a man’s appeal of his first-degree murder conviction and death sentence in the torture slaying of a mentally disabled woman six years ago in western Pennsylvania.

Thirty-nine-year-old Ricky Smyrnes was convicted in Westmoreland County in the February 2010 murder of 30-year-old Jennifer Daughtery.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ( ) reports that Judge Rita Hathaway rejected his appeal Friday, saying prosecutors presented enough evidence that he was the ringleader of six roommates who tortured, beat and killed the victim in a dingy Greensburg apartment.

Defense attorneys challenged decisions on witness testimony and other rulings on legal issues and also said the evidence didn’t support a first-degree murder conviction or the death penalty.

Smyrnes and Melvin Knight were sentenced to death and the others are serving decades in prison.


Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

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