GREENSBURG, Pa.—A judge refused to let a defense attorney tell a jury that his client's IQ is too low or has other mental problems that should keep him from being executed for his alleged role in the torture killing of a mentally disabled woman in February 2010.

As a result, Monday's opening statements in the trial of Ricky Smyrnes, 26, of Greensburg, made no mention of his alleged mental limitations because Westmoreland County Judge Rita Hathaway has yet to decide whether the jury can hear such evidence, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported ( http://bit.ly/VFagPe).

Instead, Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck laid out for the jury why he believes Smyrnes spurred five friends to torture and stab Jennifer Daugherty, 30, in a dingy Greensburg apartment.

Peck acknowledged that Smyrnes may not have killed Daugherty himself, but he said that doesn't make him less culpable in her death. Not only did Smyrnes convene three so-called "family meetings" during which all six voted to kill Daugherty, "The defendant was wise enough to always have somebody else do his dirty work," Peck said.

"He wasn't going to have blood on his hands" and stab Daugherty, Peck said.

Melvin Knight pleaded guilty to killing Daugherty and let a jury decide last year whether he deserved life in prison or the death penalty for his participation. He is now on death row.

Peck contends those at the apartment began picking on Daugherty when they learned she was sexually interested in Smyrnes, whose girlfriend became jealous and helped encourage the others to harass Daugherty.

The girlfriend, Amber Marinucci, was 17 when Daugherty was killed. She was convicted and is serving life in prison.

Eventually, Daugherty was beaten, had her hair cut, had her purse looted and was forced to drink a vile cocktail containing human waste, cleaning fluids and prescription drugs which Smyrnes and the others allegedly hoped would kill her. When she vomited and survived, the gang of six instead voted to kill her, according to Amber Meidinger, who has testified previously. Meidinger, who was pregnant with Knight's child at the time, said Knight stabbed Daugherty and then choked her with a strand of Christmas lights with Smyrnes' help.

Meidinger, 22, is scheduled to testify against Smyrnes, too, and still faces the possible death penalty for her involvement when she's scheduled to stand trial later this year.

Two others in the apartment at the time, Peggy Sue Miller, 30, and Robert Masters Jr., 39, are also scheduled to stand trial but won't face the death penalty because they're accused of failing to stop the killing but not of driving it forward.

Smyrnes' attorney, Michael DeRiso, told the jury Monday that everyone else in the apartment terrorized Daugherty at their own initiative, not at Smyrnes' urging.

"We don't agree this man over here somehow got together the six of these people and started playing puppet master," DeRiso said.

The trial is expected to last about four weeks.