2 Arrested In Hopkins Researcher's Stabbing Death
Police: Victim's Mother Heard Incident Over Phone
The mother of a Johns Hopkins research assistant who died after a late-night stabbing said she heard the ordeal unfold while talking to her son on the phone.
Baltimore police investigators said they have arrested two people in the Sunday night slaying of Stephen Pitcairn, 23, of Jupiter, Fla. He would have turned 24 years old Tuesday, according to 11 News I-Team reporter Barry Simms.
Police said they arrested John Alexander Wagner, 34, and Lavelva Wagner, 24, shortly after 5 p.m. Monday. Police said they will be charged with murder in Pitcairn's death. |
Breaking News Video: 2 Arrested
Pitcairn was found in the 2600 block of St. Paul Street at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday. Police said he was on the phone with his mother -- who lives in Florida -- when the attack happened, and his mother heard the whole incident.
Investigators said Pitcairn had just gotten off a bus at Penn Station and was returning to his apartment after a trip to New York.
"He always felt safer being on the phone, so he called me and said, 'Hey mom, I'm walking back, do you mind if I talk to you,'" Gwen Pitcairn said.
She said she was chatting with him about his trip to see his sisters when she heard a voice in the background.
"Five minutes into the walk, I heard him be approached. He offered his wallet, (they) still attacked and killed him," Pitcarin said.
She said she listened, helpless and horrified while the attack went on.
A resident told 11 News that he heard a scuffle and the victim yell for help. The witness said he called 911 after seeing a man crouching over the victim.
The witness said he yelled and went outside, and the attackers took off. The man said he talked to Pitcairn and held his hand until he died.
"These are young people in the prime of their lives," one Charles Village resident said. "This shouldn't be happening."
Court records show that both suspects have extensive criminal backgrounds. Records show that Lavelva Wagner has been arrested several times on drug charges, and John Wagner had been arrested and charged with several violent crimes.
John Wagner received an eight-year suspended prison term for first-degree assault in 2008. He was to serve three years supervised probation for that conviction. Court records show he was picked up three times for violating the terms of that probation, but was never sent back to jail.
Lavelva Wagner was also on supervised probation at the time of Pitcairn's death. Hers stemmed from a 2008 drug conviction.
Meanwhile, Dennis O'Shea, a spokesman for Johns Hopkins University, confirmed that Pitcairn was a research technician and an employee of the School of Medicine, working in breast cancer research and wound care research. He was in his first year at the school.
"He was involved in a lab that was doing important work in the area of breast cancer and other vascular-related issues," O'Shea said.
He said Pitcairn's goal was to become a doctor.