Trial date set for couple accused of killing JHU researcher

Stephen Pitcairn died on his way home from train station

September 27, 2010|By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun

The Baltimore couple accused of killing cancer researcher Stephen Pitcairn this summer as he walked home from a city train station is scheduled for trial on murder, assault and robbery charges early next year.

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Timothy J. Doory set a trial date of Jan. 26, 2011, for Lavelva Merritt, 24, and John Alexander Wagner, 37.

Charging documents claim the pair stabbed Pitcairn, who worked at Johns Hopkins University, and robbed him of his wallet and iPhone on July 25, then left him for dead on the sidewalk in the 2600 block of St. Paul St. A neighbor heard Pitcairn's cries and held the young man as he died, just days before his 24th birthday.

Wagner has a lengthy history of being charged with crimes, the longest sentence being 15 years for robbery in the early '90s.

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