Lawyers want to quit Pa. death row torture case

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Attorneys for a western Pennsylvania man on death row for orchestrating the torture murder of a mentally disabled woman want to quit while the defendant appeals.

Defense attorney Michael DeRiso represented the 27-year-old Greensburg man, Ricky Smyrnes, during the guilt phase of his February trial. Attorney Terrance Faye represented Smyrnes during the penalty phase.

DeRiso says he doesn’t do appeal work in death penalty cases, though Faye didn’t list a reason for wanting to quit.

Smyrnes was convicted of first-degree murder for organizing five others in holding 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty captive in a dingy apartment for more than two day. She was tormented, humiliated and finally killed by people she initially believed were her friends in February 2010.

Smyrnes is claiming the trial judge made errors, including refusing to let him plead guilty but mentally ill.

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