Charges against man in Lamberton Street beating upgraded to murder
Charges filed against a Trenton man accused of brutally beating a well-respected member of the capital city’s arts and music community have been upgraded to murder.
Jonathan Weathers, 25, has been charged with murder and felony murder in connection with the death of 60-year-old Stephen Merrill.
Weathers has been in jail ever since his August 10 arrest for allegedly beating Merrill on Lamberton Street the week prior.
Weathers’ girlfriend told police he was driving her car around 3 a.m. on Aug. 2 when the pair saw Merrill walking alone. Weathers asked his girlfriend what she “thought about him,” prosecutors say, and she told Weathers not to rob him.
Weathers then parked the car on a side street and told his girlfriend to switch to the driver’s seat while he approached Merrill.
Prosecutors say Weathers attacked Merrill and stole his wallet, cash, a Samsung phone and a Fitbit watch. Weathers later drove to a gas station, where he used Merrill’s credit card to purchase cigarettes and gas, according to prosecutors.
Merrill suffered a brain bleed, a collapsed lung, facial fractures, a broken arm and broken ribs. His neighbors found him unconscious on the ground and called police.
Police used surveillance video to identify Weathers as the person who robbed Merrill, and Weathers’ girlfriend provided an eyewitness account to law enforcement.
Merrill died in the hospital 15 days after the brutal attack, after being taken off of life support.
“[Stephen] was the kind of guy who makes the city of Trenton special,” TC Nelson, owner of Trenton Social, previously told The Trentonian. “He was supportive of everything and everyone who was trying to do something positive in the city.”
Merrill’s friends say he was a regular volunteer at Art All Night, as well as an active member of the Trenton Photo Club.
Weathers’ bail for the murder charges was set at $1,000,000.