Victim had 45 wounds in fatal Pa. stabbing

EASTON, Pa. - August 31, 2010

Northampton County Coroner Zachary Lysek says 39-year-old Denise Merhi tried to defend herself as she was fatally stabbed June 26 inside her Northampton home.

Lysek testified Tuesday at the preliminary hearing for Merhi's former boyfriend, 37-year-old convicted murder Michael Eric Ballard. Ballard was ordered to stand trial on charges he killed Merhi, her 62-year-old father, 87-year-old grandfather and a neighbor who ran to the house after hearing screams.

Lysek says all four victims were stabbed multiple times. Merhi's grandfather was found dead in his wheelchair.

At the time of the killings, Ballard was on parole for a 1991 murder in Allentown and was living in a halfway house there.

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