Judge Keeps Ayer Murder Suspect Behind Bars
AYER -- The 26-year-old woman charged with the fatal stabbing of her cousin last week was ordered held without bail Friday during a dangerousness hearing in district court.
Assistant District Attorney Suzanne Kontz and the lawyer for Laqwanda Villaronga, Carolyn McGowan, agreed that she should be held until her next court date.
Several of Villagronga’s family members were in the courtroom during the hearing that lasted several minutes. The Ayer resident, who was in handcuffs, was silent.
She has been held without bail since her arraignment on Monday.
Villaronga allegedly stabbed her 24-year-old cousin Jonathan Merritt in the heart with a 8-to-10 inch knife during an argument on Sept. 28 in Ayer, Kontz told the judge during Villaronga’s arraignment.
Merritt was at Villaronga’s apartment to watch her children overnight, Kontz said. The children were at school at the time and Villaronga later returned home.
The cousins were doing drugs and drinking when they began to argue, Kontz said. Villaronga told police that Merritt began “poking” and “taunting” her during the argument, she said.
Emergency responders received a call about a reported stabbing at an apartment on Groton School Road at about 1:18 p.m., according to the Middlesex District Attorney’s office.
They found Meritt suffering from a stab wound and took him to Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer where he died from his injuries.
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said during a press conference that the suspect, later identified as Villaronga, and Merritt were blood related.
She was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury.
Villaronga is scheduled to return to Ayer District Court for a probably cause hearing on Nov. 5.
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