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Appeal filed in new sentence in 2010 torture slaying case

June 12, 2022 GMT

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — The youngest defendant convicted in the torture death of a mentally disabled woman a dozen years ago is appealing the new sentence of 60 years to life imposed late last month.

Angela Marinucci, now 29, argues in an appeal filed Friday in Westmoreland County Court that the judge ignored evidence that she has matured during the 12 years she has spent in prison since her arrest in the stabbing death of 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty of Mount Pleasant, The Tribune-Review reported.

Defense attorney Michael DeMatt said Judge Rita Hathaway ignored a psychologist’s testimony that his client’s mental health issues have improved in recent years. He also accused the judge of bias in focusing on the nature of the offense and its effect on the court “even positing that was akin to PTSD.”

During the May 31 sentencing hearing, Hath­away recounted the evidence that led to Marinucci’s 2011 first-degree murder conviction and in later trials and appearances of her five co-defendants. The judge said the case has given her nightmares and has affected her like no other in her more than two decades on the bench.

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Hathaway twice sentenced Marinucci to life prison terms without possibility of parole, but appeals courts ruled the sentences unconstitutional because Marinucci was a few months shy of her 18th birthday at the time of her arrest.

Her new sentence calls for her to serve a sentence of 40 years to life for first-degree murder and a consecutive prison term of 20 to 40 years for conspiracy. She was credited for the dozen years already spent behind bars and will be eligible for parole at age 78 in 2070.

Authorities alleged that 17-year-old Marinucci egged on her boyfriend and others to torture Daugherty in the dingy Greensburg apartment most of the group shared in February 2010. Prosecutors said she had been dating one of the men and became jealous upon learning that the victim was interested in him too.

Prosecutors alleged that over nearly three days, the six beat the victim, cut her hair and forced her to drink a mixture of detergent, human waste and other substances that they hoped would kill her, then finally choked her with a string of Christmas lights and stabbed her. Her body was wrapped in plastic and stuffed into a garbage can that was wedged under a truck in a middle school parking lot, where it was found during a snowstorm.