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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A Virginia jury is recommending that a man found guilty of attacking his ex-girlfriend outside of her home and injecting her with a fatal dose of cyanide should face life in prison.

The Virginian-Pilot reports jurors took 15 minutes Monday before recommending that sentence for Joseph Merlino III, along with a $100,000 fine. The 30-year-old defendant is scheduled to be formally sentenced Sept. 26.

Merlino showed no visible reaction Monday in court. He was convicted Friday of first-degree murder in the death of 35-year-old Ellie Tran. She died after being attacked and injected with the poison on Valentine’s Day 2017.

The newspaper reports Tran’s older sister, Phi Tran, traveled from Vietnam to attend the trial and testified in the sentencing phase. She said justice had been served.


Information from: The Virginian-Pilot,