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Jennifer Daugherty Case: Torture Death of Mentally Disabled Woman May Be Hate Crime (PICTURES)

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(KDKA/Westmoreland County Prison)
GREENSBURG, Pa. (CBS/AP) Six people could be facing hate crime charges on top of criminal homicide, kidnapping and related charges in the gruesome torture death of mentally disabled woman Jennifer Daugherty.

Photo: Jennifer Daugherty.

PICTURES: "Friends" Torture, Kill Disabled Woman

Pittsburgh's federal prosecutor is reviewing the murder under a new federal law banning hate crimes against people with disabilities, according to The Associated Press.

Photo: Jennifer Daugherty.

PICTURES: "Friends" Torture, Kill Disabled Woman

Police found Daugherty's body Thursday stuffed into a garbage can in a school parking lot; they say she had been forced to consume detergent and urine - and to write a fake suicide note - before she was fatally stabbed by attackers who also shaved her head and painted her face with nail polish.

According to an affidavit, she also was hit with a towel rack, vacuum cleaner hose and a crutch.

Photo: Photo: Top L-R, Robert Masters, Melvin Knight, Ricky Ven Smyrnes; Bottom L-R, Amber Meidinger, Angela Marinucci and Peggy Miller.

PICTURES: "Friends" Torture, Kill Disabled Woman

Acting U.S. Attorney Robert Cessar said Tuesday it's too early to tell if his office will file charges against any or all of the six suspects under the new law, which was signed by President Obama in October.

Charged were Robert Loren Masters Jr., 36, Ricky Smyrnes, 23, Melvin Knight, 20, Amber Meidinger, 20, all of Greensburg; a 17-year-old girl from Greensburg; and Peggy Darlene Miller, 27, of Mount Pleasant Township. All were being held without bond in the Westmoreland County prison.

Daugherty's stepfather told the Associated Press that she had the mental abilities of a 12 to 14-year-old and was a gentle laidback person. Some of the people accused of killing her, pretended to be her friend, he said.

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PICTURES: "Friends" Torture, Kill Disabled Woman

MORE ON CRIMESIDER
February 16, 2010 - Jennifer Daugherty, Mentally Disabled Woman, Trusted Everyone, Including Her Killers
February 12, 2010 - Jennifer Daugherty (Photos): "Friends" Killed Disabled Woman, Forced Her to Write Suicide Note

  • Edecio Martinez

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