Baltimore City

Hearing postponed for woman who robbed Hopkins researcher

A violation of probation hearing for Lavelva Princess Merritt, who pleaded guilty to robbery charges in connection with the stabbing death last year of a young Johns Hopkins researcher, was postponed Friday because she mistakenly wasn't transported from jail for the proceeding.

The new hearing date is set for Dec. 9, though it may be held earlier if it's combined with a separate sentencing for the robbery convictions, tentatively scheduled for late October or early November.

Merritt admitted helping her boyfriend, John Wagner, rob Stephen Pitcairn of his wallet and iPhone on July 25, 2010, two days shy of the researcher's 24th birthday. Wagner, 38, stabbed Pitcairn in the heart during the attack, killing him.

Wagner was convicted of murder in August, after Merritt, 25, testified against him, as part of her plea deal. She is likely to receive a 30-year prison term for her role in the robbery, with half the time suspended. She faces an additional six years for violating her probation on an earlier drug charge.

tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

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