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Jury Selection Under Way In Stabbing Death

BALTIMORE, Aug. 9 (UPI) — The witnesses against a Baltimore man accused of knifing a Johns Hopkins researcher to death during a robbery are likely to include his former girlfriend.

The killing last year stirred the city, The Baltimore Sun reported. The victim, Stephen Pitcairn, 23, was on the phone with his mother as he walked from Penn Station to his home in the Charles Village neighborhood.

Pitcairn’s mother may testify against John Wagner, 34. Lavelva Merritt, 23, who pleaded guilty to robbery and conspiracy and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, is almost certain to be a witness against her former boyfriend.

Jury selection began Monday with a pool of 130 people called to the courthouse for a trial that is expected to last about eight days. Many of the potential jurors pleaded hardship, and others said they know about the case from the intense media coverage last year or have other reasons why they could not give a fair verdict.

Thirteen said they are current or former residents of Charles Village, the middle-class neighborhood near the Johns Hopkins University campus where Pitcairn lived.

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