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Cyanide killer’s sentencing is delayed

VIRGINIA BEACH (AP) The sentencing hearing for a man who poisoned his former girlfriend with a cyanide injection was postponed because he was unresponsive and foaming at the mouth when he was wheeled into a Virginia Beach court.

Joseph Merlino III was rocking from side to side in a gurney type of wheel chair on Dec 5, The Virginian-Pilot reported. A jail doctor said Merlino might be suffering from a mental condition caused by stress.

Judge Les Lilley delayed the sentencing until Dec. 10.

A jury convicted Merlino of first-degree murder in June for killing Ellie Tran in 2017. They recommended a life sentence.

Merlino had gone on a hunger strike about two months before his trial began and lost about 40 pounds. The strike ended shortly after the trial did.

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