A mentally ill woman was raped, tortured, and brutally murdered by her ‘new friends’, and her remains were discovered wrapped in Christmas decorations in a dumpster.
In 2010, Jennifer Daugherty went to a friend’s house for a sleepover, but her ‘friends’ had different ideas.
The group tortured Jennifer for more than 36 hours before voting to end her life.
Before going to her friend’s house, Jennifer wrote a touching note to her mother: “Mom, I hope you have a good day at work and I love you very much”.
It turned out, that her note will be her last words to her mother.
A few days before her murder, Jennifer made several new friends in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and told her family about it. Despite her mental disability, she took the bus alone from her house in Mount Pleasant to Greensburg for counseling or dental appointments.
Jennifer’s stepfather, Murphy, dropped her off at the bus station and it was the last time that any of her family members saw her alive.
Jennifer has been friends with Angela Marinucci for years, and they had been discussing her first night out at Angela’s apartment, but everything changed when Jennifer walked in.
Jennifer was joined by Robert Loren Masters Jr., Ricky Smyrnes, Melvin Knight, Amber Meidinger, and Peggy Darlene.
Amber met Melvin in a homeless shelter in the same year, and they moved around before settling in Greensburg, where they met Jennifer.
According to Amber Meldinger, the group took her bag and stole all of Jennifer’s money, a gift card, and a cell phone. They poured fluids inside her bag, hit her on the head with filled lemonade bottles, shaved her hair, painted her face with nail polish, and poured fluid and spices on her head.
Amber told the police that she and her friend Angela beat Jennifer with a metal towel rack and crutches, and as if it wasn’t bad enough, she also added that Melvin stripped Jennifer naked, gagged her, and raped her.
Amber claimed that Melvin led Jennifer to the living room, where Angela poured a water bottle on her head while Melvin and Ricky dumped oatmeal and spices on her.
Jennifer begged Ricky to stop because her eyes were burning, and he told her that she needed to take a shower because she smelled awful.
The group also gave Jennifer different sleeping pills and antibiotics.
Jennifer begged the group to allow her to return home, but according to Melvin, they decided to kill her so she will not be able to tell anyone about what had happened.
“Ricky went and got a knife and told me to stab her, I hesitated a bit, and then I stabbed her in the chest three times,” Melvin told the police.
But, Jennifer didn’t die at the moment, this is when Ricky said, “Dang, this **** is still alive”, so Melvin stabbed Jennifer more.
The group forced Jennifer to write a fake suicide note. After that, they tied her up in Christmas decorations to look like a Christmas tree, however, Angela was enraged because the lights weren’t flashing, so they just dumped Jennifer’s body in the parking lot of Greensburg Salem Middle School.
A day after the murder, a truck driver noticed a trash can in the parking lot while driving, and when he looked closer, he shockingly discovered Jennifer’s body inside.
Jennifer’s body was discovered in a miserable state. Her head was shaved and her face was smeared with nail polish.
For more than 36 hours, Jennifer was brutally beaten and mercilessly tortured. The group forced her to drink urine, eat deodorant, spices, and even forced her to drink vegetable oil.
Jennifer’s wrist was slashed, and her murderers forced her to write a suicide note.
At the start of the trial, the prosecutors demanded the death penalty for Ricky, Melvin, and Amber. During that time, only Melvin and Ricky were the only convicted people on death row.
The Daugherty family blamed Angela heavily, saying that she told them she was going to spend the night with her and her friends in Greensburg. They requested that both Angela and Robert receive lengthy sentences.
“The same way they chose not to show compassion to Jennifer, I ask you not to show compassion to them,” Murphy said.
“You had my sister as a friend. She loved(Angela) and valued her. You didn’t value her, you probably value a hairbrush more than you value her,” Joy Burkholder, Jennifer’s sister said in court.
When Robert testified in court, he said that he assisted Jennifer in retrieving the clothes Ricky and Melvin had stripped and thrown at her on the first day of the beating. However, before Jennifer could get her clothes and leave, he told the group that she was about to leave, and they all returned to the apartment and voted, they decided to kill her.
Meanwhile, Angela —who couldn’t face Jennifer’s family when she read her apology— said: “I am sorry, and I am guilty, she was my friend, and I should not have voted for her to die.”
The rest of the group all pleaded guilty to the murder and described everything in detail. They confessed that the group planned to murder Jennifer days ahead of the planned sleepover.