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Man Guilty Of Botched Robbery, Killing

BALTIMORE, Aug. 18 (UPI) — A Baltimore man faces a life sentence with no parole for killing a young Johns Hopkins University researcher in a botched robbery.

Alexander Wagner was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder and robbery, The Baltimore Sun reported. The jury deliberated for only three hours before reaching its verdict.

Stephen Pitcairn, a cancer researcher, was stabbed and left to bleed to death on July 25, 2010, two days before his 24th birthday. He was returning from a weekend in New York with his sisters and was walking home from Penn Station.

“This victim … wasn’t bothering anyone, he wasn’t doing anything but walking to his home,” Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Felsen told the jury in his closing argument Wednesday.

The witnesses against Wagner included his former girlfriend, Lavelva Merritt, who pleaded guilty, and Pitcairn’s mother, who was on the phone with her son when he was attacked. Gwen Pitcairn testified last week that she heard people demanding money from her son and pleaded with them not to hurt him.

Wagner’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 21. His lawyer says he plans to appeal the verdict.

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