Murder suspect taken into custody

Published 9:21 am Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A 29-year-old Virginia Beach man was arrested and taken into custody in Lunenburg County on Feb. 16 after allegedly murdering his girlfriend.

Joseph Vincent Merlino III was arrested on Pleasant Oak Road in Lunenburg, according to Maj. D.J. Penland of the Lunenburg County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident involving a female victim was reported in the 1000 block of Still Meadow Court in Virginia Beach, according to to a press release from the Virginia Beach Police Department.

“On February 14 … at approximately 8 p.m., emergency communications received a report of a malicious assault that occurred …,” Virginia Beach Police said in the press release. “The victim reported that an unknown suspect attacked her in her driveway. The victim was transported to a local hospital in critical condition. She succumbed to her injuries,” police said of 35-year-old Ellie Mizon Tran, of Virginia Beach.

“We assisted the (Virginia) State

Police and Virginia Beach Police in making the arrest,” Penland said. “I know that it’s still under investigation.”

“Through the investigation, detectives identified the suspect as the victim’s estranged boyfriend …,” Virginia Beach Police said in their release. “Merlino has been arrested and charged with second degree murder and is being held in the Virginia Beach Correctional Center without bond.”

Merlino lives in the 1200 block of Warner Hall Drive in Virginia Beach.

The release notes on Feb. 16, Virginia Beach Police detectives, members of the Virginia Beach Special Operations, Virginia Beach Fire Department’s HazMat Team and Fire Marshall’s Unit “executed a search warrant at a residence in the 1200 block of Warner Hall Drive. Other first responders were on scene to include a paramedic ambulance, two SWAT Medics and an EMS captain.”