RADFORD — Memorial events for slain Radford University student Alexa Cannon were detailed Monday. And the case against the woman accused of killing her took an initial step into the courts with notice that she had retained a Northern Virginia defense attorney known for his work in the 1990s Lorena Bobbitt case.
Cannon, a 20-year-old psychology major from Roanoke, died Thursday.
A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Second Presbyterian Church, located at 214 Mountain Ave. SW in Roanoke. Also Wednesday, Radford University will hold a vigil at 9:15 p.m., university officials announced. The university event is focused on the campus community and those attending have been asked to wear blue, a favorite color of Cannon’s, and to bring photos to share memories of her.
In a campus email sent Friday, university President Brian Hemphill said Cannon had planned to graduate in May. He called her death an “unbelievable tragedy.”
Accused of killing Cannon is her classmate and friend Luisa Ines Tudela Harris Cutting, 21, of Jeffersonton in Culpeper County, who is charged with second-degree murder.
On Monday, an arraignment for Cutting was formally canceled, staff at Radford’s General District Court said. First set for Friday, then delayed, the arraignment was dropped after the court was notified that Cutting will be represented by attorney Blair Howard of Warrenton, staffers said.
Howard is a veteran lawyer who defended Lorena Bobbitt in her 1993-1994 trial for cutting off a body part of her husband’s. In 1997, Howard again drew national news coverage with his defense of a Northern Virginia heiress accused of killing her boyfriend.
Howard did not return a phone message Monday.
According to a police account contained in search warrants on the Radford case, city officers were called Thursday morning to an apartment in the 1200 block of Clement Street. Cutting opened the door, covered in blood, and told police that she had killed Cannon, search warrants said.
Cannon, who had suffered stab wounds, was pronounced dead at the scene, search warrants said.
Police seized pills, grinders, and multiple smoking devices from Cutting’s bedroom, according to a search warrant. Officers found a brown, chalk-like substance in the apartment’s bar/kitchen area, a search warrant said.
Investigators also took Cannon’s cellphone, found under her hand, and a black, serrated knife, a search warrant said.
Cutting’s next hearing has not been scheduled.
The normal next step for a felony charge would be a preliminary hearing in General District Court to decide if sufficient evidence existed to send the charge to a grand jury, which in turn would decide if a trial should be held in Circuit Court.