Man Arrested For Murdering His Estranged Girlfriend

Thursday, February 16, 2017

​On February 14, 2017 at approximately 8 p.m., Emergency Communications received a report of a malicious assault that occurred in the 1000 block of Still Meadow Court.  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.  The decedent is identified as 35-year-old Ellie Mizon Tran of Virginia Beach.

Through the investigation, detectives identified the suspect as the victim's estranged boyfriend, 29-year-old Joseph Vincent Merlino III, of the 1200 block of Warner Hall Drive.  Merlino has been arrested and charged with Second Degree Murder and is being held in the Virginia Beach Correctional Center without bond. 

Joseph Vincent Merlino III.jpg

On February 16, 2017, Virginia Beach Police Detectives, members of  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. 

As a precautionary measure, streets in area of Red Mill Shopping Center were closed to vehicular traffic. 

Master Police Officer Tonya Pierce​

Public Affairs Officer

Virginia Beach Police Department

(757) 385-4097