Laqwanda Villaronga in Ayer District Court during an earlier court appearance. SUN FILE PHOTO
Laqwanda Villaronga in Ayer District Court during an earlier court appearance. SUN FILE PHOTO

WOBURN -- A 26-year-old Ayer woman accused of murder for allegedly stabbing her cousin to death during an argument in her Groton School Road apartment in late September was indicted and arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court.

Laqwanda Villaronga has been held without bail since her Sept. 28 arrest shortly after the death of her 24-year-old cousin, Jonathan Merritt.

Prosecutors say Villaronga stabbed Merritt in the heart with an 8- to 10-inch knife during an argument that occurred while Merritt was spending the night at Villaronga's apartment in the Zodiac Village Apartments.

Assistant District Attorney Suzanne Kontz has previously said in open court that Merritt spent the night at the apartment to help watch Villaronga's kids, but that the kids were at school the following morning when Villaronga returned home.

The cousins were drinking and using drugs when they began to argue, and Villaronga told police Merritt began "poking" and "taunting" her during the argument, Kontz said.

Villaronga called police on Sept. 28 at 1:18 p.m. Emergency crews took Merritt to Nashoba Valley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Villaronga was initially arraigned on felony assault charges in Ayer District Court, but the charge against her was upgraded to murder a short time later.

Villaronga is being held without bail as she faces a single count of murder. Clerk-Magistrate Matthew Day ordered her to next appear in court for a scheduling conference on Feb. 7 in Lowell Superior Court.

Follow Robert Mills on Twitter @Robert_Mills.


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