Twin vigils pay tribute to victim of shocking crime

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by JONATHAN BETZ / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on February 21, 2010 at 1:50 AM

Updated Sunday, Feb 21 at 7:09 PM

MESQUITE — Jennifer Daughterty was brutally murdered by those claiming to be her friends in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

It's a crime that shocked Greensburg and Mesquite, where Daugherty had lived until recently.

Simultaneous vigils in those two cities Saturday night remembered the young, mentally-challenged woman.

"I ask we keep this young woman in our hearts," said Jennifer's aunt, Kim Johnson, addressing the vigil at a Garland church, speaking on behalf of many grieving for the 30-year-old victim.

"She had such a general sweet spirit... that's what I loved about her," said family friend John Hennen.

Daugherty led a simple life. She had the mind of an adolescent, but it is the horror of her final hours that have touched so many.

"You still have those images in your head of what must have happened," Johnson said. "It's very hard, very hard, to get past that."

Earlier this month, police in rural Pennsylvania found Daugherty's body stuffed in a trash can. Investigators said she had been tortured for days and possibly forced to drink detergent — among other things.

She was beaten repeatedly before being stabbed.

Police arrested six people, friends that Daugherty had been visiting.

"It's the most horrific thing I've ever heard in my life," Daugherty's aunt said. "I have never experienced the kind of pain I experienced in the past week.

Loved ones remembered the victim's friendly spirit and her smile.

She spent 10 years in Mesquite before moving with her mother to rural Pennsylvania two years ago.

"Jennifer would not want us to think of the bad times, the sad times, or the end times," Johnson said. "She was too much in love with life for that."

In her new hometown, the brutality of the crime angered so many that hundreds gathered around the county courthouse demanding justice for Jennifer Daugherty.

Even though six suspects are in jail, the motive for this brutal crime remains a mystery.

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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