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.

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