Woman Gets 15 Years In Johns Hopkins Researcher’s Death

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The second person involved in the murder of a Johns Hopkins researcher found out how long she’ll be behind bars.

Andrea Fujii tells us what she had to say for herself in court.

Lavelva Merritt will spend 15 years in prison — a 30-year sentence, 15 of which were suspended — for her role in the death of Stephen Pitcairn.

“For the family of Stephen Pitcairn, this marks the end of a terrible ordeal and a terrible tragedy,” said State’s Attorney Greg Bernstein.

The 23-year-old Johns Hopkins researcher was walking down St. Paul Street in July 2010 when John Wagner and Merritt robbed him. Wagner then stabbed Pitcairn and Merritt punched him.

In October, Wagner was sentenced to life plus 20 years. In exchange for Merritt’s testimony against him, she only faced conspiracy and robbery charges.

“In as much as she was a willing participant, she got the sentence she deserved,” Bernstein said.

But neighbors in Charles Village — where Pitcairn was killed — say she deserves more.

“I thought it was a little ridiculous. I mean, they were in it together so they should get the same sentence it seems like,” said Alex Pirtle.

“I thought they would be in it together. I was told both were responsible,” said Frank Richardson, neighbor.

In court, Merritt said she’s just as guilty as John Wagner, but she is not a cold-hearted person. The judge didn’t buy it.

After Merritt’s 15 years, the judge said she’ll be watching for any probation violation to impose the full 15-year suspended sentence.

Merritt will be eligible for parole after seven and a half years.

  • Bernard Mc Kernan

    Seven & a half years for murder, that’s what life is worth in Baltimore. This is on you Judge. 15 years with parole after 7.5. She will be back out on the st. drugging & having babies that the rest of us will support along with her sorry azz.

  • Inmy Opinion

    Unbelievable. In the Baltimore justice system, fifteen years means fifteen months or weeks. She should have gotten life with no hope of parole. My sympathy goes out to Stephen Pitcairn family.

  • Steve

    She should have received the exact same sentence as Wagner got. She helped commit the murder and is as guilty. The hope would be that the parole board denies her parole and keeps her in prison for the remainder of her worthless life.

  • http://baltimorepostexaminer.com/shirley-brewer-gives-voice-to-life-legacy-of-slain-johns-hopkins-researcher-stephen-pitcairn/2013/07/26 Poet Shirley Brewer gives voice to life, legacy of slain Johns Hopkins' researcher Stephen Pitcairn - Baltimore Post-Examiner

    […] north on St. Paul Street, when he was approached and  robbed by John Wagner and his girlfriend Lavelva Merritt.  After giving up his possessions, Pitcairn was senselessly stabbed by Wagner, while Merritt hit […]

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