Researcher’s Murder Trial Focuses On DNA Evidence

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– After a emotional start to the trial of accused killer John Wagner Wednesday focused on the evidence.

Monique Griego has the latest from inside the court room.

Wednesday, we heard a lot of testimony about blood and DNA evidence found at Wagner’s home. The defense tried to poke holes in how well that evidence was collected.

It’s a crime that shocked the Baltimore community– 23-year-old Stephen Pitcairn was robbed and stabbed to death in a Charles Village neighborhood while walking home.

John Wagner is now standing trial accused of the crime. Investigators say he and his alleged girlfriend Lavelva Merritt robbed Pitcairn for drug money. WJZ spoke with one of Pitcairn’s neighbors.

“It was just chilling, the description of the knifing of Stephen Pitcairn,” said Pitcairn’s neighbor.

Wednesday, prosecutors showed the jury evidence collected from Wagner’s home, it included bloody Nikes and several knives. The defense tried to poke holes in how well police collected that evidence.

‘If the evidence shows him guilty, then I want to see him put away because the last thing I want is him on the street,” Pitcairn’s neighbor said.

Wagner’s alleged accomplice Lavelva Merritt is expected to be a star witness for the prosecution. She cut a deal and got 15 years in exchange for pleading guilty to robbery.

Stephen Pitcairn’s mother Gwen Pitcairn, who was on the phone with him when he was attacked, took the stand Tuesday. She tearfully described hearing the robbery, then how her son went silent after being stabbed in the heart.

The trial is expected to go through next week.

  • MD DAD

    What a shame that his mother has to keep reliving the night of his murder over and over again. All mothers who live in Baltimore City should start rallying hard at City Hall against violent crime. They should insist on something to be done about it, and not accept the empty promises that city politicians are always dishing out about how they are handling it. You never know. It could be you testifing in court about hearing you child’s murder taking place.

  • MD DAD

    Edit post: your child, not you child.

  • Linda

    Such a sad story. These people have no regard for human life. All they are concerned with is getting drugs, at any cost. Apparently they don’t work so the only way to get money is to steal, murder, or on social service programs. This animal should get the death penalty.

  • T J

    i will tell you why crime n this city is rampid. i tried to become a drug informant, no pay, but the danger is rewarding from knowing drug dealers are off the street. i was told because i was white i couldn’t do it. 20 years in the corp, trying to give back somthing to my hometown, . it just can’t be helped, please comment about your feelings , or issues that concern this city and baltimore city police

  • MD DAD

    Comment on my city? Okay.
    My city you could walk down the street and not get murdered.
    In my city, you could go to the Inner Harbor without being afraid of some punk asking you for a light, then pushing you off the landing for you to drown.
    My city you could go downtown to see Fourth of July fireworks and not worry about a riot breaking out, getting shot in the leg, or getting your throat slashed with a broken bottle.
    You could ride the bus in my city and not get beat up by teenagers by not giving up your seat to “their home girl”.
    In my city, my 90 year old grandmother would have died by natural cause instead of being stabbed to death.
    In my city animals weren’t repeatedly set on fire, and women could walk in a group without getting robbed.
    You could be an elderly man owning a moped in my city and not get murdered for it.
    In my city there were city movie theaters instead of city methadone clinics.
    Most people in my city had jobs, and criminal activity or social services didn’t seem to be the normal source of income.
    And what I liked most in my city was that there was a feeling of hope instead of a feeling of despair.
    This at one time was my city.

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