VIRGINIA BEACH — An arraignment date for a 29-year-old Virginia Beach man accused of fatally attacking his ex-girlfriend on Valentine’s Day is scheduled for next week.
Joseph “Joey” Vincent Merlino III, of the 1200 block of Warner Hall Drive, was charged with second-degree murder on Thursday in connection with the death of 35-year-old Ellie Mizon Tran, according to a Virginia Beach Police Department news release. Tran is Merlino’s ex-girlfriend and mother of his 2-year-old daughter.
Police believe that Merlino and Tran were married, but Tran’s family say the two used to date and broke up in the spring of 2016.
His arraignment is scheduled in Virginia Beach Juvenile Domestic Relations Court on Feb. 21. He is scheduled to have a bond hearing the following day.
Tran dialed 911 around 8 p.m. on Tuesday to report she’d been attacked by an unknown suspect in her driveway, located in the 1000 block of Still Meadow Court.
Police believe Merlino “touched her in a manner that caused her to be ill,” said Virginia Beach Master Police Officer Tonya Pierce.
Tran was taken to a local hospital where she died on Wednesday evening. A friend has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for her funeral expenses.
Merlino is currently being held in the Virginia Beach Correctional Center without bond.
Mayfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The original version of this story called Tran Merlino’s estranged wife. Tran’s family says the couple were never married.