SALEM, Mass. — A long-awaited murder trial for a Lawrence man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend while she slept in bed with their young son is now scheduled for early 2022.

The first degree murder trial for Emilio DeLarosa was delayed, among other major trials, due to the COVID-19 pandemic which caused disruptions and tightened regulations at courthouses in Essex County and across the country.

The trial is now scheduled Feb. 7, following a recent hearing in Salem Superior Court.

Delarosa, 36, is charged with killing Wanda Rosa, his 29-year-old girlfriend on the morning of Sept. 12, 2016 in her Methuen apartment.

Authorities said the couple’s son, then age 4, was sleeping in bed with his mother in her Tudor Street apartment when DeLarosa strangled her to death.

After killing the woman, authorities say DeLarosa fled the area and remained at-large for nearly a year until he was captured living and working under another identity in Patterson, California.

Court records indicate DeLarosa’s defense attorney plans to present “mental health related evidence at trial.”

A final pre-trial conference is scheduled in Superior Court on Jan. 26.

Police initially responded to the Tudor Street apartment after a relative requested a wellness check on Rosa.

After forcing entry into the apartment, officers found her unresponsive. She was taken to Holy Family Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Before fleeing the area, DeLarosa took his son to a relative’s home in Lawrence, officials said.

DeLarosa remains held at Middleton Jail as he awaits trial.

Court records show DeLarosa had a lengthy pattern of domestic violence against Rosa.

DeLarosa had previously served four years in prison for abusing Rosa and also had violated the terms of his probation.

He had been released from Massachusetts state prison in January 2016.

Potential evidence prosecutors have in the murder case include a forensic interview with the couple’s young son, according to previously filed documents. The boy allegedly pleaded with DeLarosa to stop hurting his mother that morning.

Forensic interviews are structured conversations by investigators which are intended to elicit detailed information from someone who witnessed or was the victim of a crime.

Other potential evidence includes grand jury testimony from numerous people, including State Trooper Michael Murphy, Rosa’s autopsy report and autopsy photographs, crime scene video and an interview with DeLarosa following his capture Sept. 13, 2017.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.

Trending Video

Recommended for you