UPDATE: Paul Michael Merhige Given Seven Life Sentences For The Thanksgiving Shooting That Took The Lives Of 4

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Normal Re: UPDATE: Paul Michael Merhige Given Seven Life Sentences For The Thanksgiving Shooting That Took The Lives Of 4

Post by Wrapitup on Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:29 pm

CFS?????? What is that?

Thanks for your post. With all due respect and a welcome to VH..this does NOT excuse the despicable murders at his hands.

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Normal Re: UPDATE: Paul Michael Merhige Given Seven Life Sentences For The Thanksgiving Shooting That Took The Lives Of 4

Post by lisette on Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:20 pm

Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. Persons with CFS most often function at a substantially lower level of activity than they were capable of before the onset of illness.

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Normal Re: UPDATE: Paul Michael Merhige Given Seven Life Sentences For The Thanksgiving Shooting That Took The Lives Of 4

Post by charminglane on Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:23 pm

CFS my ass. He got up off his ass and slaughtered a whole family on Thanksgiving. I will be grateful and give thanks when he gets the death penalty.
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Normal Re: UPDATE: Paul Michael Merhige Given Seven Life Sentences For The Thanksgiving Shooting That Took The Lives Of 4

Post by Wrapitup on Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:34 pm

Well, for Pete's sake..I probably have CFS but would be too tired to hurt anyone.

This is the biggest line of bullsh*t I have ever heard. Amen to your post, CHARM, and thanks, Lisette for yours as well.

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Normal CFS or Fibromyalgia

Post by Nama on Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:24 am

People with fibromyalgia (FM, or fibromyalgia syndrome, FMS) have muscle pain and sleep disturbances. Fatigue and muscle pain occurs frequently in the initial phase of various hereditary muscle disorders and in several autoimmune, endocrine and metabolic syndromes; and are frequently labelled as CFS or fibromyalgia in the absence of obvious biochemical/metabolic abnormalities and neurological symptoms. Multiple chemical sensitivity, Gulf War syndrome and post-polio syndrome have symptoms similar to those of CFS, and the latter is also theorized to have a common pathophysiology.

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Normal Merhige investigation to be revealed to the public

Post by Nama on Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:44 am


After five months of keeping the public and the media in limbo, Judge John Hoy has made a decision on the controversial battle to keep the details of Paul Merhige's murder case secret.

This new motion, handed down this week, shows Judge Hoy methodically and meticulously looked at every inch of this investigation and ruled very heavily in favor of the public.

Information the defense hoped to keep from the public will be revealed, documents such as:

All witness interviews, police reports from "day one" and many photos, search reports of Merhige's car, and from the hotel room where the suspect was found.

Perhaps the most revealing may be the information on his laptop computer as well as a recorded conversation in jail between Merhige and his father, shortly after his arrest.

West Palm Beach attorney Deanna Shullman represented Newschannel 5 in the case.

"A lot of the written material in the critical time frame before Merhige was found will give insight into where he was, what he was doing and who he may have been associated with," Shullman said.

Merhige is accused of gunning down his twin sisters, his aunt and six year old cousin during a family gathering in Jupiter Thanksgiving night. He remained on the loose for close to six weeks until he was caught in January, hiding in a motel room in the Florida Keys.

The judge's ruling to keep the discovery documents open to the public are good for the entire judicial process, Shullman believes.

"The public has a right to say, 'Are you doing your job right? 'Are you investigating it properly?", she said.

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Normal Re: UPDATE: Paul Michael Merhige Given Seven Life Sentences For The Thanksgiving Shooting That Took The Lives Of 4

Post by Guest on Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:18 am

Well that should make for some interesting reading. BJ you are an ace reporter!
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Normal Re: UPDATE: Paul Michael Merhige Given Seven Life Sentences For The Thanksgiving Shooting That Took The Lives Of 4

Post by lisette on Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:44 pm

New Audio Released In Case of Man Accused of Killing Family
Posted: 6:19 pm EDT September 4, 2010
Updated: 6:47 pm EDT September 4, 2010
PALM BEACH CO., Fla. -- New audio recordings and documents were released Friday in the case of Paul Merhige, the man accused of killing members of his own family in Jupiter last Thanksgiving.
A conversation recorded between Merhige and his father after Merhige's arrest, shows Paul Merhige is trying to come to terms with the murders.
"I think about heaven, you know? I think about them constantly. I don't know how I could have done what I've done to everybody. Everybody I've hurt," said Merhige.
In a tearful phone call from behind bars, Paul Merhige accepted full responsibility for the murders of 4 member of his family.

Read more at:
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Normal New documents paint chilling portrait of accused Thanksgiving killer

Post by Nama on Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:04 pm

When he pulled the trigger on his final victim, a sleeping girl, Paul Michael Merhige did so with the most awesome cruelty, a witness said.

After shooting Makayla Sitton, 6, in her bed on Thanksgiving Day, the last of the four relatives police say he killed that day, he left the room but immediately hesitated.

Apparently not convinced his work was done, he returned to Makayla's bed and shot her again, leaving her to die with a bullet in her back, another in her hip and one more in her head, said Patrick Knight, Merhige's brother-in-law, who was critically wounded but survived.

Months later, sitting in the Palm Beach County Jail, Merhige, 35, seemed shaken by the horrors of his alleged deeds. He called his father collect at his Miami-area home, begging forgiveness.

"I think about them," he told his father. "I think about heaven, you know? I think about them constantly. I don't know how I could have done what I've done to everybody, everybody I've hurt."

His father, sounding dry and defeated in a static-filled recording of the jail phone call, had by then given Merhige an accounting of the wreckage:

"We have nothing," he told his son. "You have nothing. It's a total nightmare. Our lives have changed forever."

New details in audio recordings and hundreds of pages of court documents released on Friday paint an ever-more chilling portrait of Merhige's alleged Thanksgiving Day 2009 massacre at a relative's house in Jupiter, while also offering insight into Merhige's own mind after his capture in January and his years-long struggle with mental illness.

He was seemingly merciless in his cold-blooded execution of his twin sisters, his aunt and his cousin's daughter at the end of a Thanksgiving dinner celebration, according to police interviews with survivors. A relative who survived the attack described seeing an "evil haunting look" on Merhige's face.

He shot his aunt, Raymonde Joseph, 76, once in the shoulder and then, as her husband cowered on the ground next to her, trying to stop the bleeding, he held the gun to her chest and fired again, blowing a hole in her sternum, Joseph's husband later recalled.

After fatally shooting Joseph, and his two sisters, Carla Merhige and pregnant Lisa Knight, both 33, he made his way to Makayla's bedroom twice before slipping away, fleeing south and disappearing for more than a month. He was eventually tracked down and captured Jan. 2 in a Florida Keys motel.

The estranged recluse, once a talented athlete and standout prep school student in Miami, had shown no signs of violence or anger at the family gathering that evening, despite his long history of violence and threats to his sisters. One sister had once been granted a restraining order against him years earlier, and he had once shot himself in a suicide attempt.

But court records show in the weeks before the meal he had painstaking and discreetly spent $2,000 on at least four guns and ammunition in two Broward County gun shops. He even asked for a scope to be attached to a bolt-action Remington 700 rifle. He said he wanted to use it for hunting.

Merhige had been asking his parents for days about the Thanksgiving event but never committed to attending. And his parents never alerted their hosts, Jim and Muriel Sitton, that he might be coming.

When he called that evening to announce he was on his way, his mother couldn't resist a sinister thought.

"I hope he doesn't come and kill us all tonight," Carole Merhige recalled telling her daughter, Lisa Knight, according to a Jupiter police report.

"Mom, it came to my mind," her daughter replied. "But don't say that to Dad because Dad would get upset that we had such ideas."

The newly released documents suggest that Patrick Knight, a board certified civil trial lawyer from Miami, would likely be a star witness for the prosecution in a trial. Lying shot and wounded on the living room floor, it was he who witnessed Merhige shoot Makayla once, leave the room and then reenter.

"It was quick," Knight told investigators in March, after awaking from a medically induced coma. "He went and shot her and came out and almost instantly, like a second thought, went right back in and shot her again, I guess to make sure she was dead."

After his capture on Jan. 2, Merhige seemed dazed by his own deeds and worried about his future. Records show he rambled on in a police interrogation, implicating himself in the murders without discussing them directly.

"It's impossible, you know, to reconcile what happened with me," he said. "It's just, it's not even real. I'm not violent. I've never been violent. I'm not a criminal or a drug addict. It's just unbelievable what I've done to everybody."

Seemingly unaware of the workings of the court system and scale of the criminal charges that would face him, he asked a police officer if he would be facing "a long process."

"A year? Two years?" he asked.

Told that the wait for a trial could be lengthy, he wondered what would happen next.

"What about afterwards?" he asked. "What's the worst-case scenario for this?"

If prosecutors have their way, the worst-case scenario is death. The State Attorney's Office is seeking the death penalty for Merhige. His next court hearing is set for November, when a judge is expected to set a trial date.

But his public defenders are expected to pursue an insanity defense, which could result in Merhige being sent to a mental hospital instead of Death Row.

It is a result Merhige apparently is hoping for.

"Hopefully after the case, hopefully I get sent to a hospital," he told his father in the phone call from jail.

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Normal Read the America's Most Wanted tip of Merhige document

Post by Nama on Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:21 pm

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Normal New Evidence Released In Thanksgiving Massacre Documents Made Public Show Suspect Certified In Gun Training

Post by Nama on Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:24 pm

The suspect in a 2009 Thanksgiving massacre in Jupiter was certified in gun training and had a firearms license, according to newly released documents obtained by WPBF 25 News on Friday.
Paul Michael Merhige is accused of killing four relatives after a Thanksgiving dinner in Jupiter.
A judge ruled earlier this week that discovery evidence in the case against him can be made public.
Among the evidence released in more than 600 pages of documents were Merhige's bank and cell phone records, information he had on his laptop and receipts from when he purchased the guns used in the shootings.
There were also transcripts from a police interview with Patrick Knight, a brother-in-law who survived the massacre.
"I heard police say, 'He's got a gun,' and then I heard, 'Bang, bang, bang,' and then I heard Paul say, 'This is for 17 years,'" Knight said.
Knight told detectives that Merhige had an estranged relationship with his sisters and parents, and they weren't sure if he would show up that night.
"I didn't know he was coming," Knight said. "I don't think anyone really knew he was coming."
According to police reports, Merhige shot and killed his twin sisters, Carla and Lisa, who was Knight's wife. Merhige is also accused of killing his aunt and 6-year-old cousin, Makayla.
"I didn't see him shoot (Makayla), but I heard it," Knight said. "Then he started to come out, and then he went back in and shot her again, and then he ran out the front door."
Just days after his arrest, Merhige called his father, crying for the duration of the conversation, according to police records.
"I was praying to God that you and mom would take my call," Merhige is heard on a cell phone recording.
A jail call from Merhige was also part of the evidence released Friday.
"I think about them constantly," Merhige said. "I don't know how I could've done what I've done."
Also released were floor plan sketches that Merhige allegedly drew of the home where the shootings occurred. They document the layout of the home where Makayla was fatally shot as she slept in her bed.
Merhige was apprehended in January at a Florida Keys motel after he was profiled on "America's Most Wanted."

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Normal "I hope he doesn't come and kill us all tonight," Carole Merhige recalled telling her daughter, Lisa Knight, according to a Jupiter police report.

Post by Nama on Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:50 pm

When he pulled the trigger on his final victim, a sleeping girl, Paul Michael Merhige did so with the most awesome cruelty, a witness said.

After shooting 6-year-old Makayla Sitton in her bed on Thanksgiving Day, the last of the four relatives police say he killed that day, he left the room but immediately hesitated.

Apparently not convinced his work was done, he returned to Makayla's bed and shot her again, leaving her to die with a bullet in her back, another in her hip and one more in her head, said Patrick Knight, Merhige's brother-in-law, who was critically wounded but survived.

Months later, sitting in the Palm Beach County Jail, Merhige, 35, seemed shaken by the horrors of his alleged deeds. He called his father collect at his Miami-area home, begging forgiveness.

"I think about them," he told his father. "I think about heaven, you know? I think about them constantly. I don't know how I could have done what I've done to everybody, everybody I've hurt."

His father, sounding dry and defeated in a static-filled recording of the jail phone call, had by then given Merhige an accounting of the wreckage:

"We have nothing," he told his son. "You have nothing. It's a total nightmare. Our lives have changed forever."

New details in audio recordings and hundreds of pages of court documents released Friday paint an ever-more chilling portrait of Merhige's alleged Thanksgiving Day 2009 massacre at a relative's house in Jupiter, while also offering insight into Merhige's own mind after his capture in January and his years-long struggle with mental illness.

He was seemingly merciless in his cold-blooded execution of his twin sisters, his aunt and his cousin's daughter at the end of a Thanksgiving dinner celebration, according to police interviews with survivors. A relative who survived the attack described seeing an "evil haunting look" on Merhige's face.

He shot his aunt, Raymonde Joseph, 76, once in the shoulder and then, as her husband cowered on the ground next to her, trying to stop the bleeding, he held the gun to her chest and fired again, blowing a hole in her sternum, Joseph's husband later recalled.

After fatally shooting Joseph, and his two sisters, Carla Merhige and pregnant Lisa Knight, both 33, he made his way to Makayla's bedroom twice before slipping away, fleeing south and disappearing for more than a month. He was eventually tracked down and captured Jan. 2 in a Florida Keys motel.

The estranged recluse, once a talented athlete and standout prep school student in Miami, had shown no signs of violence or anger at the family gathering that evening, despite his long history of violence and threats to his sisters. (One sister had once been granted a restraining order against him years earlier, and he had once shot himself in a suicide attempt).

But court records show in the weeks before the meal he had painstaking and discretely spent $2,000 on at least four guns and ammunition in two Broward County gun shops. He even asked for a scope to be attached to a bolt-action Remington 700 rifle. He said he wanted to use it for hunting.

Merhige had been asking his parents for days about the Thanksgiving event but never commited to attending. And his parents never alerted their hosts, Jim and Muriel Sitton, that he might be coming.

When he called that evening to announce he was on his way, his mother couldn't resist a sinister thought.

"I hope he doesn't come and kill us all tonight," Carole Merhige recalled telling her daughter, Lisa Knight, according to a Jupiter police report.

"Mom, it came to my mind," her daughter replied. "But don't say that to Dad because Dad would get upset that we had such ideas."

The newly released documents suggest that Patrick Knight, a board certified civil trial lawyer from Miami, would likely be a star witness for the prosecution in a trial. Lying shot and wounded on the living room floor, it was he who witnessed Merhige shoot Makayla once, leave the room and then reenter.

"It was quick," Knight told investigators in March, after awaking from a medically induced coma. "He went and shot her and came out and almost instantly, like a second thought, went right back in and shot her again, I guess to make sure she was dead."

After his capture on Jan. 2, Merhige seemed dazed by his own deeds and worried about his future. Records show he rambled on in a police interrogation, implicating himself in the murders without discussing them directly.

"It's impossible, you know, to reconcile what happened with me," he said. "It's just, it's not even real. I'm not violent. I've never been violent. I'm not a criminal or a drug addict. It's just unbelievable what I've done to everybody."

Seemingly unaware of the workings of the court system and scale of the criminal charges that would face him, he asked a police officer if he would be facing "a long process."

"A year? Two years?" he asked.

Told that the wait for a trial could be lengthy, he wondered what would happen next.

"What about afterwards?" he asked. "What's the worst-case scenario for this?"

If prosecutors have their way, the worst-case scenario is death. The State Attorney's Office is seeking the death penalty for Merhige. His next court hearing is set for November, when a judge is expected to set a trial date.

But his public defenders are expected to pursue an insanity defense, which could result in Merhige being sent to a mental hospital instead of Death Row.

It is a result Merhige apparently is hoping for.

"Hopefully after the case, hopefully I get sent to a hospital," he told his father in the phone call from jail.

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Normal Re: UPDATE: Paul Michael Merhige Given Seven Life Sentences For The Thanksgiving Shooting That Took The Lives Of 4

Post by Guest on Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:03 am

angry NO mental hospital. Death is to good for him. Life in prison is what needs to happen. Let him live in his own hell.
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Normal Re: UPDATE: Paul Michael Merhige Given Seven Life Sentences For The Thanksgiving Shooting That Took The Lives Of 4

Post by Wrapitup on Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:49 pm

LM, I think there is a good possibility he may be insane.

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Normal Despite his mental history, Thanksgiving murder suspect armed himself with ease, exposing gap in gun database

Post by Nama on Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:59 am

Paul Micahel Merhige is seen on a still image from surveillance video taken in a South Florida gun store. Despite being designated as a 'mental defective' Merhige was able to visit two gun stores in the months before the Thanksgiving Day attack, spending more than $2,000 on at least six guns and ammunition. Records show he even managed to obtain a concealed weapons permit.


Paul Michael Merhige, accused of slaying four relatives last year at a Thanksgiving celebration in Jupiter, could have been prevented from purchasing the gun used in the massacre if Florida officials had alerted the FBI to his history of mental problems, a review of Merhige's case shows.

Merhige was involuntarily committed to mental health facilities at least three times before police say he executed his aunt, twin sisters and his cousin's 6-year-old daughter in November, just weeks after buying at least six guns at two South Florida gun stores, according to court records.

His stays in those mental health centers should have disqualified him from ever legally buying or possessing a firearm, according to court records and interviews with state, federal and county officials. Federal law prohibits anyone who has been "adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution" from owning or purchasing guns.

But Florida did not start to submit information regarding so-called "mental defectives" to the FBI's national gun-check database until 2007, a year after Merhige's last known stay in a mental health center.

The result: Merhige and thousands of other Floridians with histories of mental troubles never made it into the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, the database that gun stores across the country use to conduct pre-sale background checks.

New laws passed in recent years are seeking to close that information gap, and Florida, along with most other states, has begun to provide the FBI with the names of people deemed mentally defective by a legal authority or involuntarily committed.

But state officials say the names now being provided do not include people declared mentally incompetent before 2007, leaving a large gap in a database intended to screen gun buyers.

"It's a shame," said Peter Hamm of the Brady Center to Prevent Violence, a Washington-based gun-control group that closely monitors the FBI's NICS database, "but it's more likely the rule than the exception even now."

Three episodes, missing from database

According to court records released last month, Merhige, a Miami man now 36, was twice committed by his parents to a crisis center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami through a so-called ex-parte order - once in 1999 and once in 2006. If asked, a judge can issue an ex-parte order permitting that a person be committed without his or her presence or knowledge, said Mark Martinez, chief of the family division in the Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts' office.

In 1998, the Miami-Dade Police Department also committed Merhige involuntarily to a mental health center under Florida's Baker Act after Merhige reportedly threatened to kill himself. (A police report about the incident did not describe the length of his stay or say whether a judge was involved in his being committed, raising questions about whether the incident by itself would have qualified him for categorization as a mental incompetent.)

Because each incident happened before 2007, Merhige's name was never entered into the FBI's database.

As a result, Merhige was able to visit two gun stores in the months before the Thanksgiving Day attack, spending more than $2,000 on at least six guns and ammunition. Records show he even managed to obtain a concealed weapons permit.

In 1968, Congress barred felons and the mentally ill, among others, from owning firearms. In 1998, five years after Congress mandated federal background checks before gun purchases, the FBI set up the NICS database and required federally licensed gun stores to use it to screen would-be gun buyers.

But the federal government cannot require states to participate, and for years, most states refused to provide the names of mental incompetents, due in part to costs and bureaucratic difficulties and in part to privacy concerns for the mentally ill.

Florida officials said that before 2007 it was all but impossible to obtain the data from the clerks of court in the individual counties, who were often loath to provide the information.

"There was so much surrounding that data that we weren't able to proceed," said Martha Wright, chief of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's user services bureau. "We didn't have legal authority (to demand it) and no one was interested in providing it."

NRA: 'No problem with the law'

The 2007 law, put together by state officials with input from National Rifle Association attorneys, changed that. Now the clerk of courts in each Florida county is responsible for cataloging the identities of anyone recently declared mentally incompetent and sending them to the FDLE, which then enters the information into the FBI's database.

"It was a necessary tool for enforcing the existing (federal) law," said Marion Hammer, the NRA's Florida lobbyist and the organization's former national president. "If you don't have a mechanism in place the law is meaningless. We had no problem with the law."

Not long after Florida passed its law, national events caused much of the rest of the country to follow suit. In April 2007, a mentally ill college student went on a rampage at Virginia Tech University, killing 32 people.

It was later revealed that the shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, had once been involuntarily committed to outpatient treatment and should not have been allowed to purchase the firearms he used in the massacre. The case prompted Congress to create new incentives to encourage states to provide better information to the NICS database and caused many states to pass their own laws requiring better reporting.

The Brady Center said Florida is now one of the most proactive states about submitting data about mental defectives to the FBI's database. State officials say it has provided more than 25,000 names of mental defectives. Its cooperation in improving its reporting to the NICS database makes it eligible for millions of extra dollars in federal grant money, officials said.

But the gap in reporting from before 2007 remains, raising concerns that many Floridians with histories of severe mental illness could still purchase firearms.

"If the person is involuntarily committed because he was a danger to himself or others, he should be in the database," Hamm said.

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Normal Re: UPDATE: Paul Michael Merhige Given Seven Life Sentences For The Thanksgiving Shooting That Took The Lives Of 4

Post by Wrapitup on Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:03 am

Parents of 6-year-old slain on Thanksgiving to sue accused murderer's parents

Palm Beach Post Staff Report
Updated: 12:24 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011
Posted: 5:04 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011

WEST PALM BEACH — A couple whose 6-year-old daughter was killed in a murderous 2009 Thanksgiving Day rampage will appear at a press conference today to announce they are suing the parents of the man accused in the slayings.

In the lawsuit, Jim and Muriel Sitton will allege that Michael and Carole Merhige suspected that their son, Paul, might go on a killing spree when they invited him to join them and other family members at the Sittons Jupiter home, according to a press release today from their attorneys David Prather and Julie Littky-Rubin.

The Merhiges are the aunt and uncle of Muriel Sitton. In addition to losing her daughter, Muriel Sitton's 76-year-old mother was also fatally shot. The Merhiges's 33-year-old twin daughters - Lisa Knight and Carla Merhige - were also killed.

In the lawsuit, the Sittons will also claim that the Merhiges should have told them Paul, who had a history of mental problems, was planning to attend the gathering, the press release says. They will also claim the Miami couple could have stopped Paul from killing their daughter, Makayla, but chose not to. She was shot as she lay in bed sleeping.

Paul Merhige, now 36, faces the death penalty when he is tried in January.

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Normal Re: UPDATE: Paul Michael Merhige Given Seven Life Sentences For The Thanksgiving Shooting That Took The Lives Of 4

Post by Wrapitup on Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:08 am

By JANE MUSGRAVE
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Updated: 11:52 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011
Posted: 12:13 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011

WEST PALM BEACH — Taking a locket from around his neck, Jim Sitton held up a picture of his slain daughter to explain why he and his wife Thursday filed what is expected to be a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the parents of a man who went on a murderous rampage in their Jupiter home on Thanksgiving 2009.

"This is about Makayla and my wife's mother," Sitton said, referring to his 6-year-old daughter and his 76-year-old mother-in-law Raymonde Joseph. They were among the four relatives Paul Merhige allegedly shot before fleeing.

Carole and Michael Merhige set the stage for the carnage, according to the negligence lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court. In a series of emails, it is clear they invited their then 35-year-old son to the family gathering without alerting the Sittons, the suit claims. Further, when he opened fire, killing his twin sisters, Joseph and finally Makayla, they did nothing to stop him.

Michael Merhige, who they described as an ex-CIA agent who presumably had weapons training, could have done something when Paul's gun jammed as he was going after Makayla, who was in her bed. Although Michael Merhige alone was carrying a cell phone, he didn't bother to summon police, the suit claims.

"He did nothing to stop his son who he brought into our house unannounced and uninvited," Sitton said, his voice shaking. His wife, Muriel, sat by his side, softly crying under the glare of cameras that gathered for the press conference. The Mehriges are Muriel Sitton's aunt and uncle. Muriel's mother was married to Carole Merhige's brother, Dr. Antoine Joseph.

Attorney David Prather, who represents the couple, said they sympathize with the Merhiges, who lost their 33-year-old daughters, Lisa Knight, who was pregnant, and Carla Merhige. But, he said, the couple knew of their mentally disturbed son's propensity for violence.

When he lived with them, they slept with their bedroom door locked because they feared him, the suit says. Further, they knew he had stopped taking medication to control his demons. Yet, they invited him to the gathering anyway, he said.

"If our clients had known, they would have said, 'No, he cannot come,'" Prather said.

He declined to say how much money they are seeking for the deaths of Makayla and Joseph. Merhige, who was caught in a Florida Keys motel roughly a month after the slaughter, will face the death penalty when he is tried in January. His attorneys plan to argue he was insane at the time of the shootings.

Carole and Michael Merhige, of Miami, didn't respond to phone calls or emails.

Their former-son-in-law Patrick Knight, who was shot in the stomach and spent nearly three months in a coma before returning to his law practice, said there is nothing unusual about the lawsuit.

While the facts surrounding it are horrific, in the legal world it's a classic "wrongful death, failure to warn" case, he said. As a civil litigator, he has seen numerous similar suits. However, because he represents insurance companies, typically he is on the other side. "They have a decent claim," he said. He said he hasn't decided what action, if any, he might take.

Like the Sittons, Knight said he no longer speaks with the Merhiges. While they visited him in the hospital, he said he broke off contact when he learned they were supporting their son. "I don't speak to them at all," he said. "They're supporting the murderer."

He acknowledged the couple's dilemma. "They are in a tough position. They lost both of their daughters," he said. "But they made their choice."

Records show Paul Merhige's father, but not his mother, visits him in jail.

Sitton said the Merhige's have never reached out to him or his wife since that gruesome November day.

In the lawsuit, the Sittons claim they only learned Paul Mehrige was coming to the Thanksgiving celebration when Muriel overheard a cell phone conversation between Mehrige and his father as she was putting dinner on the table. She was shocked. She hadn't seen her cousin in more than 12 years. She knew he was prone to violence. In 2008, her father barred Paul Merhige from attending Thanksgiving dinner when the Josephs hosted it.

Her father's reticence was understandable. Paul Merhige was violent toward his mother, the suit says. He threatened his sisters. Lisa Knight once sought a restraining order against her brother. At the time, she told her mother-in-law she was afraid Paul would kill her and her sister, the suit states. His behavior became a morbid family joke.

In an email before Thanksgiving, Carole Merhige wrote friends: "Everyone is going up including Paul! It will be interesting to say the least."

According to Jupiter police, before Paul arrived at the Sittons, Carole Merhige told her daughter: "I hope (Paul) doesn't come and kill us all tonight."

Lisa Knight responded: "Mom, it came to my mind but don't say that to Dad because Dad would get upset that we had such ideas."

Equally morbid is the realization that the Merhiges paid for the guns their son used, said attorney Julie Littky-Rubin, who also represents the Sittons. Merhige didn't work so relied on his parent's support, she said. In the months before Thanksgiving, he bought six weapons, including a .22-caliber handgun and .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun, police said.

Knowing of their son's mental problems, Prather said, the couple should have alerted authorities to keep him from buying the weapons.

The tragedy, he said, was preventable.

The lawsuit, Sitton said, is about pursuing justice.

"If someone brought a known dangerous pit bull or a rattlesnake into your house (and it killed people). . . wouldn't you want them to be held accountable?" he asked.

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Normal Re: UPDATE: Paul Michael Merhige Given Seven Life Sentences For The Thanksgiving Shooting That Took The Lives Of 4

Post by raine1953 on Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:29 am

It is heartbreaking to hear those parents talk about their deceased daughter. crying
That whole situation was/is so awful.
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Normal Re: UPDATE: Paul Michael Merhige Given Seven Life Sentences For The Thanksgiving Shooting That Took The Lives Of 4

Post by HippyChick2 on Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:23 pm

And here we are in 2011, and AMW has been taken off the air. Incredible! All the criminals they are responsible for catching, including this freak, yet they are off the air.

I had never even heard of this case till I read it here today. 2009 was a bad year for me and I guess that's how I missed it.
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Normal Re: UPDATE: Paul Michael Merhige Given Seven Life Sentences For The Thanksgiving Shooting That Took The Lives Of 4

Post by Nama on Sun Oct 02, 2011 12:13 am

A man whose pregnant wife was killed in a 2009 Thanksgiving rampage filed a lawsuit Thursday against the suspect's parents, the second such complaint filed in a week.
Patrick Knight, whose wife Lisa died in the shootout, filed the lawsuit against Michael and Carole Merhige, his former in-laws. The Merhiges' son Paul - Knight's former brother-in-law - awaits trial in the killings. He has pleaded not guilty.
Knight himself nearly died in the attack. He was shot in the stomach and spent three months in a coma before awakening to the news his wife was killed.
The lawsuit makes Knight the fourth person in the past week to blame the Merhiges in the shootings. Muriel and Jim Sitton, whose 6-year-old daughter Makayla Joy was killed, and Antoine Joseph, whose wife Raymonde was killed, sued separately last week.
The Merhiges "had a special relationship with all those in attendance at the Thanksgiving dinner," the lawsuit alleges, "and had a duty to protect them from Paul Merhige, a person with dangerous propensities."
The complaint says the suspect's parents knew of their son's violent tendencies and were victims themselves. It says they knew of their son's "irrational violence, resentment, anger and aggressiveness toward his immediate and extended family members" and knew that he had an affinity and familiarity with guns.
The lawsuit also claims the parents knew their son had stopped mental health treatment. It suggests they should have known their son may have planned to leave the area, claiming they had provided their son with his passport in the days before the shooting and that he had taken an old license plate from their home.
The attorney who filed the lawsuit, H. Joshua Diamond, did not return a call Thursday seeking comment.
A message left at the Merhiges' home was not immediately returned. It's unclear if they have an attorney.
Some 16 people gathered at the Sittons' home in Jupiter on Nov. 26, 2009, eating a traditional dinner, and sitting in a horseshoe, singing church songs around the brown Baldwin piano. Police said Merhige left the house at one point that evening, then returned with a gun, saying "I have been waiting 20 years to do this."
He was on the run for more than a month, but now awaits a trial expected to take place in January. He could face the death penalty if convicted.
In all, four people were killed in the Thanksgiving ambush, but the story of 6-year-old Makayla Joy Sitton has become most well-known, because of her age. Videos showed her captivating personality, and a children's book she wrote was posthumously published. A foundation has been started in her name and an annual concert is held in her honor.

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Normal Re: UPDATE: Paul Michael Merhige Given Seven Life Sentences For The Thanksgiving Shooting That Took The Lives Of 4

Post by Wrapitup on Sun Oct 02, 2011 12:22 am

I don't blame the family for suing. The parent's knew their son was mentally ill and capable of anything. MOO.

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Normal UPDATE: Paul Michael Merhige Given Seven Life Sentences

Post by NiteSpinR on Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:31 am

October 27, 2011

Paul Merhige, who killed 6-year-old Makayla Sitton and three others at a Thanksgiving feast in Jupiter in 2009, will be rotting behind bars until he dies!

Palm Beach Circuit Judge Joseph Marx handed down seven life sentences to Merhige, 37, after an emotional plea hearing.

Marx sentenced Merhige over the objections of Makayla’s parents, Jim and Muriel Sitton. Holding a lock of Makayla’s hair and her picture, the couple asked that Marx reject a plea deal worked out with the Palm Beach County State Attorney.

Originally, State Attorney Michael McAuliffe had announced he’d seek the death penalty.

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Normal This Dad Wants Guns After Family Massacred

Post by NiteSpinR on Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:43 am

04/16/2013

It was a Thanksgiving Day that forever changed one family.

Paul Michael Merhige finished his dinner, left his cousin’s home, returned with a handgun and executed five of his own family members in Jupiter, Fla., including an unborn baby and a 6-year-old girl asleep in her bed.

The 35-year-old, mentally ill shooter didn’t say a word as he mercilessly pulled the trigger.

Merhige shot and killed his twin sisters, one of whom was pregnant. He fired a bullet into his brother-in-law’s head. He shot his aunt and tried to shoot his uncle, but the gun jammed.

And then the cold-blooded killer did something even more unthinkable.

He walked into his 6-year-old cousin’s bedroom and shot her dead while she slept. Just hours earlier, that same little girl had prayed and given thanks to God as she shared Thanksgiving dinner with her killer, several relatives and guests.

The media refer to it as “The Thanksgiving Day massacre” of 2009.

Jim Sitton will always remember it as the day he lost his little girl, Makayla, to an evil madman with a gun.
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Makayla Joy Sitton

Now, a little more than three years after his tragic loss, Sitton, a photojournalist for WPTV-TV, the NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Fla., has a powerful message for lawmakers and citizens who advocate restricting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans:

“[I understand] what it’s like to be completely helpless and powerless when someone attacks your family with a gun.

“For me, it comes down very simply to, when someone bursts into your home with murderous intent in their heart, wanting to kill you and your family, you have a choice: You either choose to be armed and trained to protect yourself – or you choose not to arm and protect yourself and your family.”

However, Sitton condemns attempts to prevent other Americans from arming and protecting themselves.

“That’s the worst choice of all,” he said, “and it seems that’s what this government is intent on doing.”

Sitton was a gun owner at the time of the shootings, but he said he didn’t have time that night to access his firearm.

“I did have a shotgun in my closet, but I wasn’t able to get to it. The gunman was between me and it with a gun, shooting, so I couldn’t go that way. But I’d never owned a handgun up until that point. The first word out of my mouth was ‘run,’ and the second words were to my son, ‘Do you have your gun?’”

Sitton said his son had left his handgun at his home.

“When it comes down to it, everything happened so fast,” he said. “The only thing that will stop a bad man with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Unfortunately, none of the good guys had guns that night.”

WND asked Sitton for his thoughts on Congress’ recent proposal for background checks at gun shows and for Internet sales. He agreed that background checks are not foolproof, as there are still many holes in the system. He questions efforts to pass new gun-control laws when the laws already on the books aren’t being enforced.

“Merhige was on the loose for almost a month after killing my family,” he said. “As you can imagine, I ended up buying some guns for protection during that time. And every gun purchase I made – at either at a gun store or at a gun show – I had to go through background checks. I had to go through a background check to get my concealed-carry license.”

Despite the shooter’s history of mental illness, Sitton said Merhige simply lied on all his forms to obtain guns.

Sitton explained: “The state had issued him a concealed-carry license, and he bought guns legally just in the weeks leading up to that Thanksgiving. He lied on his concealed-carry form about his history, and he also lied on every [Florida Department of Law Enforcement] form that he filled out for each of those five guns.

“The government had five opportunities to check this guy’s background, and the state didn’t check when they gave him the license. The federal government didn’t check his background whenever he bought the five guns. If they had, they would have seen that he had previously used a gun to shoot himself in the shoulder in a supposed suicide attempt.”

Sitton told WND the shooter had been involuntarily committed for mental examinations twice, and police had been called to his parents’ residence on calls of domestic events.

“His sister had a restraining order against him when he threatened to slash her throat with a knife,” Sitton added. “He had told his psychiatrist he wanted to kill his entire family. And the state or the federal government, I guess no one checked the police records to see his background.”

Asked if he believes strengthening the gun laws will do any good, Sitton replied: “I think everyone agrees that when you buy a gun, you should go through a background check. That doesn’t mean that [should] put you on a universal list by the government, but to use the laws we have in place today. … I just think that the state should do its due diligence for each and every individual form.

“I don’t know if this is really about saving lives. I think it’s more about people control than it is about gun control.”

The following is an interview with Jim Sitton by WND’s Greg Corombos:

WND asked Sitton about his position on proposed bans on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines.

“First of all, they’re using the words ‘gun violence,’” he said. “Words are important. Words have meaning. It’s not gun violence. No gun has ever jumped up and committed murder. It’s people violence.

Sitton added, “So we need to do background checks on the people that are using these guns. As for so-called ‘assault rifles,’ ‘assault’ is an action. Guns are inanimate; they don’t assault. It’s the intent of the person behind the gun. …

“It doesn’t matter how many bullets are in a magazine. If the person has murderous intent, he’s going to use a gun with three bullets or 30 bullets – it doesn’t matter. And if he can’t get a gun, he’ll use a car – or as we saw in New York, an airplane.”

He said Merhige, the man who murdered his family, brought two different guns to the scene, “so he didn’t have to change magazines.”

Sitton said lawmakers and the media don’t want to listen to victims who are gun-rights advocates.

“As you can see in the media, no one really wants to hear from the victims who don’t blame the guns. They just want to hear from, and take advantage of, the parents who look at the easy way out and just blame the guns because that seems like the easy solution.”

He then asked, “Will the government and criminals be the only ones with guns? Or will we also have the right to protect ourselves from those criminals?”

Three-and-a-half years after the murders of his loved ones, Sitton and his wife, Muriel, have a new baby girl who just turned 1.

“That’s one of the reasons I’m really dead-set on having a right to protect my family,” he said. “I have another little girl, and I don’t take kindly to folks who are trying to get between me and my right to protect my family.”

Sitton said the death of his daughter Makayla was a dark moment but one that was ultimately hopeful when viewed through the prism of his Christian faith.

“We’re doing the best we can. We’re Christians. We know that Makayla, my little girl, my 6-year-old daughter, is in heaven. He didn’t abandon her. She was on loan to us from God. … I know where she is and that she’s OK.”

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