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BALTIMORE (AP) — Prosecutors have agreed to drop murder charges against a woman charged in the fatal stabbing of a Johns Hopkins researcher in exchange for her testimony against her co-defendant.

Lavelva Merritt has pleaded guilty to robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery in the death of Stephen Pitcairn, saying her co-defendant John Wagner stabbed Pitcairn. To get the deal with prosecutors, Merritt will also have to testify against Wagner, who is scheduled to go to trial next month. Merritt would then spend about 15 years behind bars.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein declined to comment on the deal.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (15)
  1. j. kramer says:

    What a farce this is. People involve in a murder should not be allowed to lower their sentence if they were indeed involved. Are States attorney seems to be taking the easy way out. I think the best way to handle this would have been to convict her of conspiring to commit murder to lessen her sentence. During the sentencing phase I would sentence her to 1 day less then her co-conspirator. When you hand the bomb over to the one that plants it, you are equally guilty. Shame on us for allowing this to be a commonplace occurence in our justice system.

    1. ADersh says:

      I don’t know where you got your law degree, but you should ask for your money back.

  2. williejoe says:

    F……K Bernstein, he’s a sellout!

    1. DaRedneckKing says:

      Hey dude, you are everywhere with your wack az comments!!!! You’re the same redneck az hillbillie who was cheering like a lil girl for Bernstein, now you’re disapointed…… lil bit**

      1. sheriff says:

        Redneck, SMD, I was until he turned N****RG on us….Maybe we should bring back the Black Pillsbury dough girl Jessamy?

  3. Doug says:

    Cutting a deal?
    With murderers ?
    Try cutting their throats

  4. BRENT BARBOUR says:

    Its obvious you commenters dont know the first thing about the legal system or the rules of evidence. Without strong evidence, and eyewitness testimony putting the parties there, both these people stand a chance of walking. That is a prospect the state doesnt chance as there are already enough murderers walking around B-More that got off with fair trials.

    1. sheriff says:

      They have signed confessions.

      1. sheriff says:

        In addition to signed confessions, they retreived the murder weapon from the dumb a$$ apartment & a fried who the perps admitted they killed Pitcarin. These two spoonies need to be made an example of to all the jungle bunnies in Balto.

  5. Jane says:

    Cut a deal with a murderer. Did they cut a deal with the victim???? This country is going to the dogs. I agree with Doug. there should be not deal at all……

  6. R.A. says:

    “If it wasn’t for lawyers, we wouldn’t need lawyers”!

  7. Marshall Hiepler says:

    Our great nation was founded by visionary fore-fathers who sought to correct injustices that had become commonplace under the iron-fist rule of England. Much time and honorably inspired effort was expended in the creation of our judicial system, which, in their view, insured justice for each of us, while protecting against the evils of a system governed by a powerful few.
    I do not feel that there are monumental problems with the design of our judicial system; rather, it is the failure of implementation of basic ideals that has lead to the degradation of our current system as a whole.
    It is a shame, in my humble opinion, that we allow incremental infringements on justice to become “the norm” as we trend toward acceptance of lesser sentences for particularly violent crimes.
    It is not our system that is in need of closer inspection; instead, we must more closely examine ourselves, to determine if we share the beliefs that lead to the construction of our legal system. As the erosion of time has clearly shown, it is impossible to maintain the integrity of a system that does not harness the core beliefs of our society.
    A great sense of sadness fills me, as I watch the basic structures of our nation crumble over time, and move ceaselessly in the direction of inevitable collapse.

    1. AT says:

      Well said, Marshall Hiepler!

  8. Jerry says:

    They killed the guy kill them. Give her the same plea bargin that they gave the Hopkins researcher.

  9. csr says:

    There’s no justice for any crime victim in Baltimore. I myself was the victim of a crime on April 30th – it took 90 minutes for the police to even show up, and only THEN because a neighbor had to FLAG them down.

    What chance did Stephen Pitcairn have, with odds like that?

    It really doesn’t matter what people think of this “deal”. The real deal is that neither Stephen Pitcairn, nor his loved ones, will have justice.

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