By Paul Burton

AYER (CBS) —  An Ayer woman accused of fatally stabbing her cousin with a large kitchen knife was arraigned in Ayer District Court Monday. Laqwanda Villaronga, 26, is being held without bail.

Villaronga is charged with assault and battery with dangerous weapon with bodily injury.

Jonathan Merritt (Facebook Photo)

Prosecutors say she is wanted in connection in the deadly stabbing of her cousin 24-year-old John Merritt inside her apartment on Groton School Road in Ayer. Prosecutors say Villaronga is the mother of two children, but neither one was home at the time of the incident.

According to police reports, Villaronga and Merritt were in her apartment drinking alcohol and doing drugs. Somehow, an argument ensued and that’s when she went into the kitchen, grabbed a carving knife and stabbed him in the chest.

“The victim according to the defendant kept taunting her. She stabbed the victim in his heart. She called 911 and admitted she stabbed the victim,” Assistant District Attorney Suzanne Kontz said.

Laqwanda Villaronga (Photo Courtesy:

Villaronga was placed under arrest while her cousin was rushed to the hospital but did not survive. Family members left the court with little to say.

Friends say Merritt was the father of two kids himself. He practiced football with the older one and it’s going to be tough on the kids,” neighbor Deb Gardner said.

Villaronga is being held without bail and is due back in court on October 5th for dangerousness hearing.

Paul Burton


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