More Testimony Against Man Accused Of Killing Hopkins Researcher

BALTIMORE (WJZ)–More dramatic testimony in the trial of a man accused of killing a young Johns Hopkins researcher. The prosecution’s star witness took the stand Thursday.

Meghan McCorkell has the latest.

Lavelva Merritt says she helped her boyfriend John Wagner rob Stephen Pitcairn, but she says she didn’t stab him. And now she’s pointing the finger at her boyfriend.

“What happened to Mr. Pitcairn was wrong. It shouldn’t have happened,” Merritt told a jury Thursday.

Merritt said she was with Wagner when the two robbed Pitcairn in Charles Village last summer. She confessed she hit Pitcairn in the head and stole his iPhone. Then, she claims, Wagner stabbed him.

 “It wasn’t supposed to go down like that,” she told the jury.

Merritt also faces murder and robbery charges. But those murder charges against her were dropped in exchange for her testimony as part of a plea deal. She will serve 15 years behind bars.

Merritt originally told police Wagner never left her apartment that night, and implicated her cousin Kevin Cosby.  She now says that was a lie and that she wanted to tell the truth because she felt for Pitcairn’s family.

“It eats away at me. I’ve got to live with this for the rest of my life,” she said.

Thursday afternoon, Cosby took the stand. He told the jury that he came home and found Merritt and Wagner out of breath. He asked what happened and says Wagner said “I just beat this white guy up so bad. I feel so bad about it.”

Cosby then says Wagner asked him to try to use Pitcairn’s credit card at the gas station. He says he brought back money and drugs, and Wagner asked him to get rid of Pitcairn’s wallet. Cosby admits he tossed the wallet in a dumpster  but says that’s where his involvement ends.

The final witness was Merritt’s mother, who says she was asleep at the time of the crime.

The prosecution will continue to present its case Friday morning.

More from Meghan McCorkell
  • carla

    She is just as her boyfriend and the state gives her partcial response because she told on him. Wow! That is one thing that is wrong people are committing crimes and telling and they may have done majority, but telling on their co-conspirators for lesser time.

  • Raven X

    People that committ murder do not fear the justice system. If convicted their stay in jail includes TV, gyms, etc. If they knew they would be put to death in a timely fashion (one appeal) they would think twice.

  • Diane King

    “It eats away at me. I’ve got to live with this for the rest of my life,” — Boo hoo poor Lavelva. It may not have been planned the way it went down, but she chose to go out and engage in violent criminal behavior. The original intentions are irrelevant. That young man is dead! She may not have done the actual stabbing, but she’s guilty just the same as if she had.

  • Diane King

    and what’s with her mother testifying that she was asleep when the crime was committed?? Typical.

  • Angel

    They both knew just what they were doing and they did not need to kill for money. I hope both serve their time to the end. Baltimore Leaders stop feeling sorry for these low lifes here in Maryland. Make our State show we are no longer playing with all your stupid and craziest Period!!!

  • didi

    she has to live with it BS i dont buy it she punched him in the head as he was DYING she is as guilty as wagner and deserves more time than she got I pray the state will make her serve all of her time the family of Stephen are the ones who have the life sentence of trying to deal with the pain they are in.

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