crimesider

Jennifer Daugherty, Mentally Disabled Woman, Trusted Everyone, Including Her Killers

(Personal Photo)
(Facebook Photo)
(KDKA/Westmoreland County Prison)
GREENSBURG, Pa. (CBS/AP) Jennifer Daugherty trusted everybody, according to her family, who said the 30-year-old had the mental abilities of an adolescent but wasn't the kind to get in trouble.

Photo: Jennifer Daugherty.

PICTURES: "Friends" Torture, Kill Disabled Woman

But apparently trouble found her. Police discovered her body Thursday stuffed into a garbage can in a school parking lot.

Police 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. Six suspects have been charged, including her new "friends."

Photo: Jennifer Daugherty.

PICTURES: "Friends" Torture, Kill Disabled Woman

"She was exploited, and her kindness and her handicap made her very vulnerable," Daugherty's sister, Joy Burkholder, said. "She trusted everybody; she believed everyone was good, and no one would hurt her."

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

Her parents didn't press for details when she mentioned she had made some new friends.

Daugherty's stepfather said she often traveled on her own by bus from her home in Mount Pleasant to Greensburg, about 10 miles away, for dental or counseling appointments. After she hopped onto a bus Monday, she called her folks later in the day seeking permission to spend the night at "Peggy's" house.

It was the last time she would talk to them.

Daugherty went willingly to the apartment where she was killed about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh, according to police, who wouldn't discuss a motive or details on how the visit turned deadly.

She was beaten with a towel rack, vacuum cleaner hose and a crutch, and her body was bound with Christmas decorations, an affidavit said. Police said she was fed vegetable oil, medications and spices in addition to soap and urine.

She was stabbed multiple times with an unknown weapon in the neck, chest and head, Westmoreland County Coroner Kenneth Bacha said. Authorities said they found the victim's belongings in the building's attic, as well as items that had been used to clean up blood.

"She was at the wrong place, at the wrong time, stumbled into a bad situation," said Greensburg Police Chief Walter Lyons.

Six people were charged with criminal homicide, kidnapping and other counts: Robert Loren Masters Jr., 36, Ricky Smyrnes, 23, Melvin Knight, 20, Amber Meidinger, 20, and Angela Marinucci, 17, all of Greensburg; and Peggy Darlene Miller, 27, of Mount Pleasant Township. All were being held without bond in the Westmoreland County prison. Prosecutors didn't know whether any of them had attorneys.

MEDIA
PICTURES: "Friends" Torture, Kill Disabled Woman

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

  • Edecio Martinez

Comments

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.