Jurors Find Man Guilty of First-Degree Murder in 2016 Methuen Strangling Death

Salem Superior Court (Courtesy photograph.)

An Essex County Superior Court jury Thursday found a 38-year-old man guilty of first-degree murder for the 2016 killing of Wanda Rosa at their Methuen apartment.

Jurors, sitting in Salem, found Emilio DeLarosa, guilty of strangling Rosa in front of their four-year-old son, who’d been lying in bed with his mother.

“One of the most important things we do is give voice and seek justice for victims,” Essex County District Attorney Paul F. Tucker said. “The work done by our team gave voice to Wanda, and justice to her family, friends—and son.”

During a trial that began Jan. 23, Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall said the couple had an abusive relationship. Rosa had been caring for her son and training for a new job at the time of her death.

Her son, now 11 years old and a fifth-grader in Lawrence, testified during the trial and said of his father, “He killed her,” after his mother refused to give his father a credit card.

“I was trying to pull him off her,” the son testified before the jury.

DeLarosa later dropped the boy with relatives before fleeing to New York and eventually being arrested in California, where he’d been working installing hardwood floors.

Besides MacDougall, the case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jessica Strasnick, with victim witness services provided by Assistant District Attorney Mikki Defeo.

It was investigated by troopers assigned to the Essex County District Attorney’s Office State Police Detective Unit, principally Lt. Mike Murphy and Trooper Jay McCarthy, and Methuen Police Sgt. Thomas McMenamon, Detective Kenneth Pilz and Lt. James Moore.

DeLarosa was represented by defense attorneys Aviva Jeruchim and Amy Belger.

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