In early 2010, the residents of the tranquil city of Greensburg, in Western Pennsylvania, learned of what was probably the most horrifying crime committed in their community.

Jennifer Daugherty, aged 30 and who had mental disabilities that gave her the emotional intelligence of a twelve-to-fourteen-year-old, had been tortured by a gang that had posed as her friends, eventually killed and her body dumped in a garbage can place in the parking lot of the local middle school.

The crime, which resulted in several death and life imprisonment convictions, even motivated the proposal of a law (dubbed ‘Jennifer’s Law’) which would penalize the failure to report a violent crime to the police.

Hop along, as we review in this article, the circumstances that led to Jennifer’s death and the horrible thirty hours of torture that she had to endure before her supposed friends finally killed her.


10 /10 Not A Mean Bone

Jennifer Daugherty was a resident of the little town of Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, born with an unspecified disorder that caused mental disabilities that left her with a young teenager’s emotional and intellectual abilities.

She was beloved by everyone who met her, and by her family’s accounts, she loved to sing and dance.

According to Jennifer’s stepfather, then sixty-two-year-old Bobby Murphy: “There is no reason for them to do what they did to Jennifer. Jennifer was just a gentle, laid-back person. There wasn’t a mean bone in her body.”


9 /10 New Friends

Jennifer’s disabilities, however, didn’t prevent her from going on her own to doctor’s appointments and other errands to the nearby city of Greensburg by taking the bus.

During one of these trips, when she had met in the local community center, a group of six people she deemed her ‘new friends’: Melvin Knight, Angela Marinucci, Ricky Smyrnes, Peggy Miller, Ambert Meidinger, and Robert Masters.

They posed as her friends for a few months and even invited her for a sleepover eventually. She couldn’t have known that she was dealing with a band of disturbed people that would after her murder be dubbed ‘The Greensburg Six.’

8 /10 A Fatal Sleepover

It was February 10th of 2010 when Jennifer asked her parents to drive her to the bus station to go to Greenburg for a sleepover with her newfound friends.

They trusted these friends, who she had mentioned frequently before and who had even visited her in her home in Mount Pleasant.

When they dropped her off, she kissed on the cheek to her stepfather and got off the car. It was the last time they saw her alive.

On that same morning, she had left a card with the address of the place where she was going to be, and a few more words: “I hope that you will have a good day at work, and I also love you very much. I will talk to you some time later.”

7 /10 Family Meetings

At the same time, her six ‘friends’ held a meeting in Peggy Miller’s house.

There, they were deliberating on what they would do to Jennifer once she arrived: at first, they settled for torture, but eventually, they decided that they would murder Jennifer.

The six called a ‘family meeting,’ a meeting in which they discussed crimes to commit together or separately.

Nearly all of them had committed crimes of varying severity in the past, and some, like Marinucci and Symrnes, had even served time in prison.


6 /10 Jealousy

The ultimate reason for their decision to torture and kill Jennifer was, unknown to her, the incredible jealousy that Marinucci had been feeling due to Smyrnes, her boyfriend, having fallen in love with Jennifer.

It is unclear whether anything happened between Smyrnes and Jennifer, but Marinucci had come to believe that he loved her and had proposed to marry her.

Some witnesses at the trial testified that they had known that Marinucci intended to kill Jennifer because of this: she had said in a rage, “I’m going to kill that bitch.”

5 /10 Thirty Hours

And so, it began. As soon as Jennifer crossed the door and entered Peggy Miller’s apartment, the six of them overpowered her and tied her up with Christmas lights purchased by Miller.

Soon they began to hit her with a towel rack and to go through her purse for things to steal, shaved her head, painted her face with nail polish which they also fed her forcibly, as well as her urine and disinfectant.

Knight raped her, and they all dumped spices, oatmeal, paint, and other things over her head. This lasted for over a day: thirty hours, to be exact.


4 /10 Death By Stages

After thirty hours of torture, they decided to proceed with the killing.

By this point, (they thought) if they were to let her go, she would turn them all to the police, apparently believing that killing her and dumping her in a public place would somehow leave them in a better position.

They forced Jennifer to write a suicide note, then proceeded to try to stab her to death with a meat cleaver, which didn’t succeed.

Then they slit her wrists open, which also failed. Finally, they strangled her to death with the Christmas lights. It was finally over for Jennifer Daugherty.

3 /10 Corpse Defilement

The murderers weren’t done with her corpse, however. They covered it with Christmas decorations to make it look as close as possible to a Christmas tree.

They then placed her body inside a garbage can and dumped her in Greensburg-Salem Middle School’s parking lot, where a truck driver noticed it on February 11th and alerted the police.

The body was found in a deplorable state, which further added an element of corpse defilement to her killers’ sick, twisted actions.

2 /10 Masters And Miller

Out of all of them, only Robert Masters and Peggy Miller expressed some measure of remorse when they were caught the next day, February 12th.

“I was scared for my life. I should have done something, but I didn’t because I was scared”, said Masters, whereas Miller said at the trial: “I am sorry and I am guilty. She was my friend, and I should not have voted for her to die.”

They received between 30 and 70 years, while Meidinger received up to 80 years and Marinucci a life sentence. Knight and Smyrnes were sentenced to death.


1 /10 Jennifer's Law

Since then, a movement has been growing to make it mandatory to report violent crimes to the police by passing a law known as Jennifer’s Law.

It was later known that several neighbors and other inmates during previous convictions of the killers had known of their intention to murder Jennifer but hadn’t done anything about it.

To this day, friends and family Jennifer question what would have happened if someone had warned them or the police.

But they are not without their regrets: “My biggest regret was forcing Jennifer to act as an adult,” said her mother, Denise; “she was trusting.” It was indeed a cruel world for Jennifer, who trusted these so-called friends.

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