Man charged in brutal 2020 killing of Charlotte woman bonds out of jail

He was one of four people charged in connection with Mary Collins’ death.
He was one of four people charged in connection with Mary Collins’ death.
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 12:05 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – A man charged in connection with the brutal killing of a 20-year-old woman in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood bonded out of jail over the weekend, jail records state.

Earlier this year, a $250,000 bond was set on James Salerno’s murder charge. According to online Mecklenburg County Jail records, he was released shortly after 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 3.

Mary Santina Collins was found stabbed to death in the NoDa neighborhood of Charlotte on April 4, 2020.

Salerno was also charged with kidnapping and concealing a death in connection with the 2020 death of Mary Collins.

The 20-year-old, who family members said lived with a disability, was found murdered at a NoDa apartment in April 2020, days after she was reported missing.

Investigators say her body was hidden inside a mattress. The family believes Collins took an Uber and was lured to the NoDa apartment.

Salerno previously pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

He was one of four people charged in connection with Collins’ death.

Collins’ grandmother, Mia Alderman, says she was enraged to hear this latest news.

“You have enough evidence to jail somebody, arrest them, and put them in jail and have them await a sentence or a trial for first-degree murder. Then they shouldn’t be out, walking the street where they can hurt somebody else,” she said.

She is calling on changes to the court system to make sure there is no bond for a murder suspect.

“These people need to be held accountable for what they’ve done. Because you can’t just stab somebody over 133 times, bash their head in, force drugs down her throat and do other unspeakable things to her,” Alderman said. “Kill her and take her and wrap her in plastic. Hide her in a mattress and take her from us.”

Last June, Kelly Lavery pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, concealment of a body and first-degree kidnapping charges, and was sentenced to 25 to 32 years in prison.

Related: Defendant pleads guilty to charges in connection with death of Charlotte woman

Lavi Pham, who was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and concealing or failing to report a death, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Jail records show he remains incarcerated.

America Diehl was charged with felony accessory after the fact and concealing a death. She bonded out of jail in September 2021, according to online records.