Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

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Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Piper on Fri Nov 27, 2009 2:35 pm

4 relatives shot dead at Fla. Thanksgiving party


JUPITER, Fla. – Police were searching Friday for a man suspected in the Thanksgiving shooting deaths of his twin sisters, aunt and a 6-year-old cousin during a family celebration.

One of the sisters, Lisa Knight, 33, was pregnant, said Jupiter Police spokeswoman Sally Collins-Ortiz. She did not say how far along the woman was in her pregnancy.

Police said 17 relatives were in the Palm Beach County house when the shootings were reported around 10 p.m. Thursday in Jupiter, a small beach town about 90 miles north of Miami that is best known as a home to celebrities including Michael Jordan and Burt Reynolds.

The little girl was sleeping in her bed when she was shot, police said. A fifth man was critically wounded and a sixth was treated at the scene for a gunshot graze.

Jupiter Police Sgt. Scott Pascarella said officers were looking for Paul Michael Merhige, 35, of Miami. Merhige is a cousin of the 6-year-old victim, Makayla Sitton, and has no criminal record, police said.

The others killed were Merhige's twin sisters, Carla Merhige and Lisa Knight, 33, and an aunt, Raymonde Joseph, 76, according to police.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091127/ap_on_re_us/us_family_shootings

AP – This undated photo provided by Jim Sitton via WPTV shows Makayla Sitton, 6

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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Julie on Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:04 pm

Piper-what is wrong with people? He shot a sleeping 6 yr. old & his pregnant sister? Also his 76 yr old aunt & his other sister? How awful!!
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Dis on Sat Nov 28, 2009 12:10 am

How sad... Sad
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Julie on Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:02 am








http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34180754/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Piper on Sat Nov 28, 2009 12:23 pm

That beautiful little girl.....what the HELL is wrong with people, I just don't understand.
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Justice4all on Sat Nov 28, 2009 11:12 pm

This is so sad. I hope Merhige is caught soon.
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Justice4all on Sat Nov 28, 2009 11:37 pm

'I've been waiting 20 years to do this,' alleged killer says after shooting in Jupiter

JUPITER — He didn't say a word. He just started shooting.

A witness to Thursday night's massacre in Jupiter said no one knows what set off Paul Michael Merhige, who police say killed four relatives and an unborn child at the end of a Thanksgiving meal.

But when the killing was near done, the first three already dead or dying, he reloaded his handgun and spoke.

"I've been waiting 20 years to do this," Merhige announced to one relative, according to Jim Sitton, whose 6-year-old daughter was the last one killed.

Moments later, Sitton said, Merhige barged into 6-year-old Makayla Sitton's room and shot her five times in her bed, executing what police say was his final victim while her father tried in vain to break through the window from outside.

"He didn't even know her," Sitton, a cameraman for WPTV-Channel 5, said in an interview Saturday. "He purposely walked down the hallway, opened her dark room and shot her five times. What kind of monster does that? What kind of evil?"

Merhige, a 35-year-old Miami-area resident said to have a history of mental problems and an ongoing grudge against several family members, was still being hunted by federal and local law enforcement Saturday night, believed to be armed and highly volatile.

Jupiter police said he bought "multiple" firearms shortly before Thursday's shootings, although they did not say how recently he made the purchase. They said the manhunt was focused on Florida, but they have also alerted police in the Detroit area, where Merhige has family ties. He also has ties to Haiti.

Alive or dead, officials acknowledged he could be anywhere.

Saturday, prosecutors issued a warrant for his arrest on four charges of first-degree murder and two charges of attempted first-degree murder. A reward of $10,000 was being offered for information leading to his arrest.

Merhige reportedly lives in an apartment in Coral Gables and has a short criminal record — one arrest in 1998 for disorderly conduct.

But court records indicate he had a troubled relationship with his sister Carla Merhige, who was among those killed Thursday.

In 1998 Carla filed a domestic violence complaint against her brother in civil court, and in 2006 he reciprocated with one against her. Neither were ever charged criminally, however.

Sitton, who lived in the house on Via Veracruz in Jupiter with his wife, Muriel, and their only daughter, said Merhige was a late addition to their Thanksgiving feast. In all 17 people came, including Merhige, who is Muriel's cousin.

The family knew Merhige — once a standout athelete at a prestigious Miami high school and an honors student at the University of Miami — had deep-rooted problems with his family. But they had not seen him in over a decade and felt no reason to be concerned.

"We had a great dinner," Sitton said. "(Merhige) sat a couple of chairs down away from me. I joked around with him. I didn't see any red flags or any irrational behavior."

No arguments or quarrels took place that Sitton could remember. But around 10 p.m. Merhige stepped outside the house without warning.

When he came back in police say he began shooting.

Police say when Merhige was done he had killed his aunt, Raymonde Joseph, 76, of Jupiter; his twin sisters, Carla Merhige and pregnant Lisa Knight, both 33 and of Miami; and Makayla, his cousin Muriel's daughter. Also injured was Knight's husband, Patrick, and a cousin, Clifford Gebara.

"I think he had the opportunity to kill his dad and he didn't," Sitton said. "So I think — and this is just speculation — I think who he wanted to punish his parents. For God knows what."

Leaders and parishioners from Calvary Chapel Palm City, where the devout Sitton family worshipped and were heavily involved in church activities, worked with family friends Friday and Saturday to provide food, comfort and monetary support.

As police continued their search for the alleged killer, the Sittons and other relatives came together to mourn the losses of so many loved ones.

Muriel Sitton, who lost both her mother and daughter in Thursday's massacre, recalled her mother Raymonde Joseph as a spunky and endlessly generous retiree, a hard-working French native who supported her husband as he set up a decades-long medical practice in Michigan.

"She was just always thinking of others," she said. "She was dedicated to my father and my family."

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

"She loved Jesus," he said of his daughter. "And he would not abandon her. He brought her home."

Police say was last seen driving a 2007 blue four-door Toyota Camry with the Florida license plate W42-7JT. The vehicle has a rear spoiler and non-tinted windows.

Anyone with information about Merhige or his whereabouts is asked to call the Jupiter Police Department at (561) 746-6201 or a local law enforcement agency.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime/i-ve-been-waiting-20-years-to-do-88712.html
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Julie on Sun Nov 29, 2009 8:51 am

Moments later, Sitton said, Merhige barged into 6-year-old Makayla Sitton's room and shot her five times in her bed, executing what police say was his final victim while her father tried in vain to break through the window from outside.

"He didn't even know her," Sitton, a cameraman for WPTV-Channel 5, said in an interview Saturday. "He purposely walked down the hallway, opened her dark room and shot her five times. What kind of monster does that? What kind of evil?"
----------------------

How tragic! I feel soooo bad for her Dad!!!! Absolutely terrible!
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Dis on Sun Nov 29, 2009 11:51 am

How sad! I hope they catch him soon, I don't think anyone is safe anymore. What a horrible memory for the ones who survived. Peace be with them.
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Justice4all on Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:35 am

Little girl's light shines through grief

By Sonja Isger

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

JUPITER — The service to remember 6-year-old Makayla Sitton and her 76-year-old grandmother, Raymonde Joseph, was a study in contrasts.

Outside, police checked each car as it entered the parking lot of Jupiter High School, where the memorial was to be held.

For more than two hours, they operated out of a mobile command unit and kept watchful eyes on the walks leading to and from the auditorium — almost certainly on guard for Paul Michael Merhige, a relative of the victims, but also their alleged killer.

Inside, the crime that took their lives and two others' on Thanksgiving was instead cast as a passion play of good and evil.

Guns were never mentioned. Federal manhunts ignored. The man's name never uttered.

At the center of it, Makayla was a hero and ultimately a "martyr" whose death reflects light upon her faith.

That is the only way the family can make sense of burying a child a day before her seventh birthday.

Her faith was evident Saturday afternoon.

A Sunday school classmate recalled from a step stool at the podium: "She knew the Bible more than anybody," and "Makayla would always hug everyone at church, especially those who were sad and needed it most."

By all accounts, the girl quoted Scripture from memory as easily as she held tea party chats with her dolls. She was eager to have her relatives do the same, uncle David Sitton recalled.

In video tributes, her mother and father spoke of her devotion as well.

Jim Sitton, a cameraman for WPTV-Channel 5, even hinted that her death, though tragic, was part of a larger plan. His evidence: the girl's daily devotionals.

She bookmarked them carefully each day, he said. And when he went back to cherish the last words she'd read, he found to his surprise that she had completed her nighttime and morning devotional books that day.

"She had finished it," he said. It was God's way of saying she was done and ready to meet him, said Sitton, who tucked her into bed that night and was the last to see her before the murderous rampage ended with her shot to death in her bed.

Another comfort to Makayla's parents: They say she was escorted into God's kingdom by her grandmother.

Raymonde Joseph was an attentive grandmother to all her grandchildren. She visited even the most distant ones regularly on their birthdays, they said Saturday. But she treasured her standing weekly date with Makayla, when she took the home-schooled girl to her ballet lesson.

Joseph hand-made the girl's flowered dresses and fawned over her singing, dancing and piano playing.

Thanksgiving at the Sitton house, it turned out, was something Makayla commandeered.

With the help of her parents she designed a program, planning a short speech on the meaning of Thanksgiving, a recital of Psalm 100 and the handing out of symbolic kernels of corn.

The one thing no one could possibly anticipate was the violent ending.

Authorities say Merhige sat quietly through dinner, excused himself and returned with a gun. He shot and killed both his sisters, one of whom was pregnant, and injured two others before stalking to Makayla's room.

Authorities paint the man, a cousin of Makayla's mother, Muriel, as both mentally ill and calculating — having retrieved significant sums of cash and prepped his royal blue Camry for his getaway.

But on Saturday, in that high school auditorium, that modern-day cops-and-bad-guy story was recast as a battle of dark and light.

David Sitton told a gathering of nearly 400 that the villain was bathed in a faith-filled Thanksgiving led by a devout Makayla.

"He watched this witness for Christ and all I can say is he hated it. Darkness always hates the light and he crushed it. He killed her."

Through tears, Muriel Sitton said she had told Makayla many times that God had a "mighty plan" for the girl's life.

"People are seeing true faith through the eyes of a little girl. … She went right from the arms of her mama and papa and she knew him because she was prepared to know him."

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime/little-girl-s-light-shines-through-grief-102266.html?
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Justice4all on Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:38 am

I hope they find Merhige before he can hurt anybody else. Somebody has to be pure evil to shoot an innocent little girl in her sleep.
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U.S. Marshals Add Alleged Thanksgiving Day Killer to Most Wanted List

Post by Justice4all on Tue Dec 08, 2009 3:38 pm

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Marshals have added to their “15 Most Wanted” list of fugitives a man suspected of killing four relatives Thanksgiving Day in Jupiter, Fla.
Paul Michael Merhige, 35, allegedly opened fire on his family, killing four people, including his twin sisters, one of whom was pregnant, a 79-year-old aunt and a six-year-old cousin, and wounding a brother-in-law and another man.

Merhige was invited to, and attended a family Thanksgiving dinner in Jupiter on Nov. 26. After dinner, Merhige left the house for a short period of time. When Merhige re-entered the residence, he reportedly began shooting the family members without provocation. Merhige immediately fled the scene in his blue 2007 Toyota Camry.

“The callousness of Merhige’s calculated, vicious acts against his own family is unimaginable,” said John F. Clark, Director of the U.S. Marshals Service. “We are fully committed to locating and apprehending this fugitive and making him answer for these horrific crimes.

Paul Michael Merhige is a white male, five-foot-eight-inches tall, weighing 200 lbs. Merhige has an arrest warrant for four counts of first degree murder with a firearm (premeditated) and two counts of attempted first degree murder with a firearm (premeditated).

Merhige is considered to be armed and dangerous. If you have information about his whereabouts, contact your nearest U.S. Marshals office or call the Marshals 24-hour hotline at 1-800-336-0102.

http://www.usmarshals.gov/investigations/most_wanted/merhige/merhige.htm
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Voice of Paul Michael Merhige heard for the first time

Post by Justice4all on Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:54 pm

JUPITER--Paul Merhige has beeon on the run for nearly 4 weeks but new video has been released of a much younger Merhige. It's not what hello looks like that detectives need you to pay attention to it is what he sounds like.

The video is of Merhige as a senior in high school. U.S. Marshals say though the video is old they want our viewers to listen closely to his voice in hopes his voice may trigger an arrest.

"My name is Paul Merhige a senior at Guliver Prep in Miami, Florida."

These are the words of the man U.S. Marshals say fatally shot four people Thanksgiving night including 6-year-old Makayla Sitton.

"We want to give all the info we have to the public we don't want to hold anything back", says Manny Puri with the U.S. Marshals.

In the video Merhige talks about his talent as a kicker on the schools football team in hopes scouts would take notice.

"I am the kick off extra point and field goal place kicker in my second season"

U.S. Marshals say video with the suspects voice is just as relevant as a picture because while Merhige may be able to disguise his appearance he will have a tough time disguising his voice.

"If the voice helps--we feel that it will we need to get it out there" Puri says.

Though a picture may not be worth a thousand words U.S. Marshals say the hope the sound of his voice will be worth an arrest.

http://www.wptv.com/content/news/northpbc/jupiter/story/The-voice-of-Paul-Merhige-heard-for-the-first-time/exRH8UBRR0aTcnAkdKEHMQ.cspx?rss=762
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by randilynn on Thu Dec 24, 2009 9:34 pm

this just proves that there is pure evil in some people.
my prayers go out to the families of those killed in cold blood by this monster.

i hope they catch him soon, so they can FRY him!!
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Sherry on Fri Dec 25, 2009 1:32 pm

So sad. I pray for this family to receive peace and comfort and that this ugly monster be caught so that justice will come to Makayla and her loving family.
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Jupiter shooting manhunt to be featured on 'America's Most Wanted'

Post by Justice4all on Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:04 pm

By Rick Christie

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

JUPITER — The manhunt for Paul Michael Merhige, who gunned down four members of his family on Thanksgiving day, will be featured on America's Most Wanted on Saturday, according to Jupiter Police.

The show, and its host John Walsh, have been previewing the 10-minute segment since early December. And authorities hope that it will provide a boost in national exposure for one of the biggest manhunts in Palm Beach County history.

Merhige, 35, shot six family members on Nov. 26, killing four. Among the dead were his twin sisters, a 6-year-old girl and her 76-year-old grandmother. The reward for information leading to his capture has been increased to $100,000

"Saturday's show will now provide the nation with detailed information concerning this case," Jupiter Police said in a release today. "and through their cooperation we are confident that we will receive a tip that will bring ... Merhige to justice."

Meanwhile, friends of Jim and Muriel Sitton — whose daughter, Makayla was the 6-year-old killed by Merhige — are attempting to organize a massive "flyer handout" on Saturday, where volunteers will pass out flyers with Paul Merhige's information on them.

They are asking that people throughout South Florida both print and pass out the flyers.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime/jupiter-shooting-manhunt-to-be-featured-on-america-157267.html
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Justice4all on Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:09 am

http://www.miamiherald.com/854/story/1407277.html

JUPITER — Paul Michael Merhige, the subject of a massive manhunt for more than one month for the Thanksgiving Day massacre of four members of his family, has been captured.

The Jupiter Police Department has called a press conference at 11:45 p.m. to announce details of the capture.

According to reports, Merhige was arrested in the Florida Keys following a report on the family's slaying on America's Most Wanted at 9 p.m.

Merhige is accused of slaying six-year-old Makayla Sitton, her grandmother Raymonde Joseph, and his two twin sisters.
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Justice4all on Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:19 am

Another capture for America's Most Wanted. It is amazing how fast that show can get results sometimes.
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Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Justice4all on Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:33 am

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime/merhige-captured-in-long-key-in-thanksgiving-day-159880.html

JUPITER — Palm Beach Post Staff Reports

Paul Michael Merhige, the subject of a massive manhunt for the Thanksgiving Day massacre of four members of his family, has been captured.

Merhige, 35, was arrested in Long Key after America's Most Wanted aired a segment about the case at 9 p.m.

Merhige is accused of slaying six-year-old Makayla Sitton, her grandmother Raymonde Joseph, and his two twin sisters.

After receiving a tip, authorities went to the Edge Water Lodge Motel at Mile Marker 65.5. The tipster said a person strongly resembling Merhige had checked into the motel on Dec. 2 under the name of John Baca and provided an address in Homestead, according to the Jupiter Police Department.

He was taken into custody without incident.

"I'm elated that the monster is in the cage. We don't have to worry about him killing my wife or coming back for my father-in-law. It doesn't bring my daughter back, but at least this chapter is over," said Jim Sitton, the father of Makayla.

Authorities have said Merhige carefully planned the attack. He had purchased guns days before the assault and had reclaimed his passport from his parents, according to his mother.

He also bought a cover for his blue Toyota Camry, possibly to conceal the car from law enforcement after the attack.

Merhige had been invited to Thanksgiving dinner with the family at the home of Jim and Muriel Sitton. Relatives said he was calm throughout the meal. They said they believed the attack was his horrific way of punishing his family for what his mother called "16 years of problems."

His last victim was Makayla. Her mother, Muriel, is Merhige's cousin.

The manhunt for Merhige quickly went nationwide, with a $100,000 reward issued for his capture. The U.S. Marshals and FBI were among agencies searching for him.

Earlier Saturday, volunteers distributed flyers in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Miami-Dade counties in hopes someone would recognize Merhige and report his whereabout to authorities.

During the America's Most Wanted report, Jim and Muriel Sitton spoke of the attack and how they are coping.
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Sherry on Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:18 am

This is good news!
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by FystyAngel on Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:29 am

This is WONDERFUL NEWS! Thank you J4A for keeping us updated. Now the bastard can rot where he belongs!

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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Dis on Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:13 am



Kudos to whoever turned him in!!!! The family can breathe a little easier tonight knowing he can't get to them. I love it when I log on and there is good news like a kid is found or something like this.

Thanks J4A!!!!!!!
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Piper on Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:50 am

John Walsh is a hero. It's amazing how he has turned his grief into helping so many other victims of crime. And thank goodness for the alert citizens that turn these monsters in. Merhige is a selfish, evil bastard. He doesn't deserve to breathe another breath of air. This is one that should go directly to the death chamber.
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Estee on Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:45 am

If he doesn't get the DP i'll be surprised....What a cold, calculating killer he is...So glad that he was caught and good to know that the person that called in that "tip" was brave enough to do it....God Bless John Walsh for all his help too.
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Thanksgiving massacre suspect held without bond, isolated in mental health unit

Post by Justice4all on Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:11 pm

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime/thanksgiving-massacre-suspect-held-without-bond-isolated-in-160127.html

By Andrew Marra, Christine Stapleton and John Lantigua

JUPITER — After an interrogation by police, Paul Michael Merhige, Florida's most wanted fugitive, was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail early this morning on four charges of murder in Jupiter's horrific Thanksgiving Day massacre.

At his first court appearance this morning he was ordered held without bail while he awaits trial, less than 12 hours after a phone tip led to his arrest in the Florida Keys.

Merhige stood silently in jail blues and glasses, his hands cuffed in front of him. The court room was heavily guarded by a dozen sheriff's deputies, including members from the SWAT team.

He murmured a question to a public defender representing him in the hearing but otherwise did not speak. Judge Reginald Corlew ordered him held without bond on four charges of first-degree murder.

The 35-year-old Merhige — who has a reported history of mental health issues — has been placed in isolation in the jail's mental health unit, authorities said.

An arraignment hearing was set for Feb. 1 and the county Public Defender's office was appointed to represent him.

The arrest caps a furious manhunt that extended across the country and lasted more than a month, only ending after Merhige was recognized Saturday night by the owner of the small Long Key hotel where he had been staying since early December.

"My husband asked me, 'Isn't the guy staying up in 14?'" said Melinda Pfaff, co-owner of the Edgewater Lodge on Long Key. "I looked and said, 'Yes, it is. Let's call America's Most Wanted.'"

At about 10 p.m. officers shattered a sliding glass door in Merhige's room and Mehrige was apprehended after being stunned with a Taser stun gun, police said.

Merhige had been living in Room 14 since Dec. 2, calling himself John Baca and paying in cash.

His room was stocked for a long stay — packed with cans of beans, jars of peanut butter, bread, an empty box of Snickers bars and a half eaten pack of Fig Newtons. In the refrigerator, he had stored away canned fruit and bottled water. In his room was a bottle of "color retention conditioner" and an unused pair of sunglasses.

As a national manhunt swirled around him, Merhige laid low, telling the hotel owners he would clean his room himself but insisting he needed Internet access. Reportedly suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, he washed his clothes constantly in the hotel's laundry room.

"He never came out of room," Paul Pfaff said. "I didn't know if the guy was alive."

Since the Pfaff's didn't have many other guests in early December they were glad to have him -- until Saturday night.

Paul Pfaff had been watching a college football game on the Fox channel around 6:30 or 7 p.m., when the news came on and he saw a report on Merhige, including a photograph of the fugitive.

Pfaff recognized the photo as the man who was staying right above them on the second floor.

Merhige was alone in a room on the second floor of the motel and did not try to evade police.

He was taken into custody at about 10 p.m. Saturday without incident, authorities said, though a Taser was used to subdue him. He arrived at the Jupiter Police Department headquarters at about 1:30 a.m.

Palm Beach County State Attorney Michael McAuliffe, speaking at a hastily called news conference at the Jupiter Police Department, said Merhige would be charged with four counts of first-degree murder, "and at least one count of attempted first-degree murder."

Merhige left the Jupiter Police Department at 4:15 am and was taken to the Palm Beach County Detention Center to await his first appearance before a judge on Sunday. Barefoot and in a white tee shirt and baggy jeans, he had the beginning of a beard and had shaved his head.

Merhige is accused of slaying his cousin's daughter, Makayla Sitton, 6; her grandmother Raymonde Joseph, 76; and his twin sisters, Lisa Knight and Carla Merhige, 33.

"I'm elated that the monster is in the cage," Jim Sitton, father of Makayla, said at Saturday night's news conference. "We don't have to worry about him killing my wife or coming back for my father-in-law.

"It doesn't bring my daughter back," he added, "but at least this chapter is over."

Jupiter police, along with the U.S. Marshals Service and FBI, had recently intensified their search for Merhige — who had somehow been able to evade capture. Most recently, authorities had concentrated their search on Miami-Dade County and points south.

They also had stepped up efforts to bring the public into the manhunt with fliers, lighted billboards, and even the release of video and audio.

"This was a team effort," said Jupiter Police Chief Frank Kitzerow. "We were confident we would make the apprehension and we have."

Merhige's capture brings an element of closure for those who survived the Thanksgiving Day shooting at the Sitton family house in Jupiter. Family members had been under police guard since that night for fear that Merhige might return to slay more relatives.

On NBC's Today show this morning, Jim Sitton said he had been "in protective mode" since the killings.

"I'd be in my house patrolling the different windows until 4 or 5 in the morning," he told the Sunday morning Today Show host, adding that "my theory was he was within 10 miles of my house the whole time."

His wife, Muriel, thanked law enforcement and the media for the work that led to the tip.

"We hoped and prayed it would come in," she said. "We are thankful to God."

Staff writers Kevin Thompson and Sonja Isger contributed to this report.
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Picture and Videos

Post by Justice4all on Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:11 pm

Michael Paul Merhige in the back of a US Marshal's service van after his arrest Saturday in Long Key.


Videos:

Breaking News: Paul Merhige Arrested

Police Discuss Merhige Arrest

4AM Update - Paul Michael Merhige Arrest

Hotel Room Where Merhige Hid

Motel Owner's Husband Discovered Merhige

Inside Merhige's Motel Room


Last edited by Justice4all on Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Today Show: Man nabbed in Thanksgiving slayings

Post by Justice4all on Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:14 pm

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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by randilynn on Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:48 am

i watched this on AMW.. god bless john walsh... he is truly a living angel..


bring on the DP... if ANYONE deserves it, it is this monster who can execute a 6 year old innocent sleeping child, and a pregnant woman..

come to think of it, all of his victims were the "easy targets"... this man is more than a monster, he is a coward!!
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Sitton, Walsh call for death penalty for Merhige

Post by Justice4all on Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:12 pm

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime/sittons-walsh-call-for-death-penalty-for-merhige-163243.html



By Andrew Marra
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

JUPITER — Both the father of a murdered six-year-old girl and the host of America's Most Wanted today called on state prosecutors to seek the death penalty for Paul Michael Merhige, charged in the murder of four family members on Thanksgiving Day.

"If there's anyone who deserves the death penalty, it is someone who would execute my 6-year-old daughter while she is in bed," said Jim Sitton, the father of Makayla Sitton.

John Walsh, who hosted an America's Most Wanted segment Saturday night that played a key role in the apprehension of Merhige, echoed that sentiment.

"This man deserves the death penalty. He crossed that line," Walsh said.

Speaking of Palm Beach County State Attorney Michael McAuliffe, Walsh added: "I hope he does the right thing and ends this family's pain."

Walsh and Sitton had an emotional reunion today, weeks after they first met following the Thanksgiving Day massacre at the Sittons' Jupiter home.

Walsh embraced both Jim Sitton and his wife, Muriel.

Jim Sitton thanked America's Most Wanted, the law enforcement officers who caught Merhige, and Walsh.

Walsh hailed the capture as a perfect example of how his program can help law enforcement.

"This is how it is supposed to work," he said.

McAuliffe, in a statement Monday, said Merhige's case, like any other first-degree murder case, will be taken to a grand jury within 30 days.

"As is the normal procedure in a qualifying case, I will make the final decision as to whether to seek the death penalty," he said in the statement.

The Sittons became close to Walsh during the manhunt for Merhige.

It was the first time the couple met with Walsh since Merhige's capture at a motel in Long Key late Saturday night after 38 days on the run as one of the nation's most sought-after fugitives.

Walsh and the Sittons were joined Jupiter Police Chief Frank Kitzerow and members of the U.S. Marshals Service Regional Fugitive Task Force at the Sittons' home on Via Veracruz in Jupiter.

Merhige, 35, is accused of shooting six family members after a Thanksgiving dinner, killing four of them — including his cousin Makayla, her 76-year-old grandmother, and his twin sisters, both 33.
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Videos from America's Most Wanted Website

Post by Justice4all on Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:26 pm

Excerpt From The Thanksgiving Day 9-1-1 Call



John Walsh Speaks At A Paul Merhige Press Conference



John Walsh Talks to Mr. and Mrs. Sitton



Detectives Confirm Merhige's Arrest



Detective Frank Informs the Sittons of Merhige's Arrest



Paul Merhige Walkshot

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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Justice4all on Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:32 pm

randilynn wrote:i watched this on AMW.. god bless john walsh... he is truly a living angel..


bring on the DP... if ANYONE deserves it, it is this monster who can execute a 6 year old innocent sleeping child, and a pregnant woman..

come to think of it, all of his victims were the "easy targets"... this man is more than a monster, he is a coward!!
I agree with everything you said Randi. Did you see the video from America's Most Wanted where the pathetic coward had nothing to say when the reporter was asking him why he killed the little girl?
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Dis on Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:18 pm

That 911 call was chilling....how terrible for those people...you have to have an extreme amount of faith to make through something like that without going crazy with hate...God Bless them. Thank the Lord he was caught.
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Estee on Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:02 pm

And all God's children said....AMEN!!!!!
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Justice4all on Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:11 pm

That 911 call was chilling Dis. Thank God he was caught.

Some of the other videos really reminded me of John Walsh's passion for justice. We are really lucky to have him as a voice for victims.
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by pi-girl on Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:42 pm

That poor family! Chilling is definitely the word for the 911 call!

How awful to hear their panic and distress. I can't imagine going through that and not going crazy.

The DP will be way too humane for this monster. Mad

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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Justice4all on Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:49 pm

I agree pi-girl. If this case doesn't cry out for the death penalty, I don't know what case does.
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Snaz on Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:45 am

I just listened to that 911 call, and then I shuddered... chills went down my spine. I can't even imagine what these people have had to endure. Not only did the mother lose her daughter, but her own mother and two cousins, as well..... how does one survive that?

I am so grateful that PM was caught..... the death penalty is even too good for him.

Thank God for John Walsh.

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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Piper on Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:23 am

Thank you for the video's J4A. The 911 call made me shiver, it's awful to hear the terror and pain in their voices.
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Video of Paul Merhige's Capture

Post by Justice4all on Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:50 pm

In the video he complains of 18 years of mental problems and says he didn't know what he was doing and can't believe he did all this.

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John Walsh Talks to the Sittons After Merhige's Arrest

Post by Justice4all on Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:04 pm

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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Julie on Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:27 am

Thank God they caught him!

Thanks J4A for the video updates.

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Michael Merhige's attorney seeks secrecy for evidence

Post by Justice4all on Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:38 am

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/southflorida/story/1439044.html

Michael Merhige's attorney seeks secrecy for evidence
The attorney for Paul Michael Merhige, accused in the Thanksgiving Day massacre in Jupiter, asked a judge to keep all evidence secret until the murder case is concluded.

BY SUSAN SPENCER-WENDEL
Palm Beach Post

WEST PALM BEACH -- Paul Michael Merhige's defense attorney has asked a judge to prevent all evidence against him from being released to the public and news media until the first-degree murder case against him is concluded.

Palm Beach County Public Defender Carey Haughwout -- noting the extensive publicity the Thanksgiving Day murders generated -- made the extraordinary request in a written motion to Circuit Judge John Hoy. Haughwout also asked Hoy to order all attorneys, police and witnesses involved not to comment publicly on the case.

Haughwout cited Merhige's right to a fair trial and what she deems the prejudicial nature of all the Merhige publicity.

"Witnesses have been quoted calling for the death penalty as well as referring to the defendant as a `monster,' '' Haughwout wrote.

The request may set up a showdown between the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial. Media outlets can be expected to oppose the request.

Hoy will hear arguments at a hearing Jan. 29.

Normally, almost all evidence in a criminal case becomes a public record once it has been provided to the accused's defense attorney. And the news media routinely are allowed to inspect and obtain copies of those public records.

Haughwout detailed in her motion Merhige's extensive exposure already -- his arrest broadcast on television, intense publicity surrounding the manhunt and articles about his troubled mental history and the heartbreak of the shooting victims' families.

Merhige has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in the killing and wounding of six members of his family in Jupiter on Thanksgiving Day.

Haughwout, who has defended many high-profile murder and rape suspects, called the news media's coverage of Merhige ``unprecedented.''

"The defendant's medical information has been widely disseminated and published. The problem is compounded by the fact that at least one witness/family member has been a treating doctor of the defendant and one witness/family member is employed at a local television station.''

Jim Sitton, father of 6-year-old victim Makayla Sitton, is a photojournalist at WPTV-NBC 5 in West Palm Beach.
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Justice4all on Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:40 am

I don't know why Merhige's attorney thinks he is entitled to special privileges. I don't see her request being granted.
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Estee on Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:14 am

If this is granted I can just hear the protesters now. It would set a president for Florida's "Sunshine Law" to be contested. Let's pray that the Judge uses discretion to make a laughing stock out of this attorney.
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Justice4all on Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:45 pm

State to seek death penalty against alleged Thanksgiving Day killer

BY ANDREW MARRA and MICHAEL LAFORGIA Palm Beach Post
Posted January 29, 2010 at 7:08 a.m. , updated January 29, 2010 at 7:20 a.m.

JUPITER — Prosecutors have decided to seek the death penalty for Paul Michael Merhige, the man accused of fatally shooting four family members in a Thanksgiving rampage in Jupiter.

The decision, announced Thursday by State Attorney Michael McAuliffe, comes almost a month after Merhige's Jan. 2 capture in a Florida Keys hotel, where he had hid out for weeks after allegedly shooting dead his twin sisters, his aunt and his cousin's 6-year-old daughter at Thanksgiving dinner.

The horrific scale of his alleged crime and the prolonged national manhunt made him one of the nation's most wanted criminals for more than a month. After his capture, the father of one of the victims and the celebrity host of the 'America's Most Wanted' television program each called on McAuliffe to seek to have Merhige executed.

"If there's anyone who deserves the death penalty, it is someone who would execute my 6-year-old daughter while she is in bed," said Jim Sitton, the father of Makayla Sitton, earlier this month.

Prosecutors' decision to seek death by lethal injection came as a grand jury formally indicted the 35-year-old Miami man on four counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder. (Police say he shot two other relatives but did not kill them and tried unsuccessfully to shoot his uncle).

His parents, who supported him financially even as a grown man, have not hired him a private defense attorney, so Merhige will be defended by Carey Haughwout, the county's public defender. She did not return a call for comment Thursday.

Relatives of Merhige's alleged victims also declined to comment Thursday, as did McAuliffe.

Merhige was an honors student and varsity athlete at a prominent Miami prep school before studying at the University of Miami. But after graduating he never held a job and was supported his whole life by his parents, his mother said.

He once shot himself in a supposed suicide attempt and allegedly threatened once to cut the throat of one of his sisters.

Merhige's reported history of mental problems — his mother said he suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder and chronic depression — will likely be a key issue if his case goes to trial. Legal experts have said evidence of Merhige's extensive planning and escape could complicate attempts to argue a convincing insanity defense.

In general, such defenses can backfire on attorneys arguing death penalty cases, said Christopher Slobogin, director of the criminal justice program at Vanderbilt University Law School.

"Some people have described serious mental illness as a double-edged sword," he said. "It ... tends to show dangerousness in a typical juror's mind," which might make a jury more likely to recommend the death penalty.

Authorities said Merhige meticulously plotted the killings, buying four guns, packing clothes and withdrawing at least $12,000 in cash.

During the Thanksgiving meal at the Sittons' Jupiter home, he sat quietly and ate nothing. Later, he went outside, removed a gun from his car and reentered. Moments later, without a word, police say he opened fire.

He fled and hid out in the Florida Keys while a nationwide manhunt swirled around him, swapping the license plate on his blue Toyota Camry and keeping it covered in a motel parking lot.

He was arrested Jan. 2. at the Edgewater Lodge in Long Key, between Islamorada and Marathon, after the motel's owner saw his face broadcast during a college football game. Authorities who raided his motel room said Merhige apparently had been following the manhunt on the Internet.

He was taken to the Palm Beach County Jail, where he remains held without bond.

Merhige, who reportedly nursed a grudge against his family for more than a decade, is accused of killing his cousin's daughter, Makayla Sitton, 6; his aunt, Raymonde Joseph, 76; and his twin sisters, Lisa Knight and Carla Merhige, 33.

Veteran Assistant State Attorney Aleathea McRoberts, who co-prosecuted the Dunbar Village rape trials, is slated to prosecute Merhige. His arraignment in court is set for Feb. 2.

In Florida, a majority of jurors must vote to recommend the death penalty and a judge then makes the final decision. The case is slated to be handled by Circuit Judge John Hoy.

Source: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2010/jan/29/state-seek-death-penalty-against-alleged-thanksgiv/
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Justice4all on Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:39 am

Arraignment hearing for accused Thanksgiving shooter Merhige postponed



By Sonja Isger
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Updated: 9:24 a.m. Monday, Feb. 1, 2010
Posted: 7:50 a.m. Monday, Feb. 1, 2010

WEST PALM BEACH — An arraignment hearing for Paul Michael Merhige, accused of killing four in a Thanksgiving Day massacre, has been postponed from today to Friday, according to the State Attorney's Office.

Merhige, 35, was expected to enter a plea in court this morning after being formally indicted last week on four counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder.

But the hearing has been rescheduled for 8:30 a.m. Friday.

Last week, State Attorney Michael McAuliffe's office announced it would seek the death penalty for Merhige,

Public Defender Carey Haughwout has made a written request to prevent all evidence against her client from being released to the public and the media. She also has asked the judge to bar all attorneys, police and witnesses from commenting on the case publicly.

A hearing on that request is also scheduled for Friday.

The crime and the national manhunt that followed held the public's attention for more than a month, as it was featured in the local news and on the television show "America's Most Wanted."

Staff writer Andrew Marra contributed to this story.


http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime/arraignment-hearing-for-accused-thanksgiving-shooter-merhige-postponed-205498.html
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Justice4all on Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:41 am

Paul Michael Merhige Indictment

http://www.wpbf.com/download/2010/0128/22368607.pdf
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Justice4all on Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:32 pm

Victim of Thanksgiving Day shooting out of coma, relative says

By Andrew Marra
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Updated: 10:10 a.m. Tuesday, March 9, 2010



JUPITER — Patrick Knight, who was shot along with his wife in a Thanksgiving massacre in Jupiter that left four dead, has emerged from his months-long coma and is communicating with family, a family member said.

Knight's sister-in-law announced on a Facebook Web site dedicated to one of the shooting's victims that Knight, a 37-year-old Miami attorney, is now awake and communicating via a communication board.

Knight's pregnant wife, Lisa Knight, was among those killed in what police say was a murderous rampage by Paul Michael Merhige, Lisa Knight's brother.

"He (Patrick) does recall the event and has been told about Lisa and the baby, along with the rest of the victims," wrote Beth Knight, his sister-in-law, in a comment posted Monday night on a Facebook page.

Four people were killed last Thanksgiving at a family dinner feast in Jupiter when Merhige, who had a history of mental problems and a strained relationship with his family, opened fire inside the home, investigators say.

Merhige killed four people and left Patrick Knight in a coma. A sixth family member was grazed by a bullet and received only minor injuries.

Merhige is in jail facing first-degree murder charges. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty in his case.


http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/victim-of-thanksgiving-day-jupiter-shooting-out-of-334154.html
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Piper on Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:28 pm

I'm glad he's emerged from the coma, I'm sure it's a miracle he survived. Not only does he have to heal himself, he has to deal with the deaths of his family members. Especially his wife and unborn child. A senseless and horrific tragedy for this entire family.
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

Post by Justice4all on Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:36 pm

Attorney for Merhige asks evidence against him be withheld from public

By Susan Spencer-Wendel
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Updated: 3:18 p.m. Thursday, April 1, 2010

WEST PALM BEACH — A defense attorney for Paul Michael Merhige, who is accused of gunning down family members Thanksgiving Day, is asking that evidence in the case against him be withheld from the public.

Guarding his right to a fair trial, Merhige's attorney is objecting to the release of information that would normally be public records under Florida law: a witness list, autopsy reports, domestic violence injunction records, gun-purchase records and an inventory of items discovered in the Long Key motel room where U.S. Marshals captured Merhige in January after a nationwide manhunt.

In an aggressive move to protect her client and citing the extensive publicity, Public Defender Carey Haughwout earlier this year made an extraordinary request to Circuit Judge John Hoy that all the evidence against Merhige not be released until the first-degree murder case is concluded.

Striking a balance between the First and Sixth amendments, the rights to free speech and a fair trial, Hoy approved an agreement between media attorneys and Haughwout that allowed Haughwout to object to release of certain items of evidence and ordering the release the items not objected to.

Haughwout is objecting to the release of 211 of more than 1,800 pages of evidence documents amassed in the case against Merhige.

This includes video and photographs from a gun shop Merhige visited and the tragic scene at the Jupiter home where the shootings took place.

"The foregoing list includes items that are graphically incriminating or which might not be admissible at trial," Haughwout wrote in her request. "This case has involved prior prejudicial publicity, disclosure ... (and) could further aggravate the prejudicial publicity."

Attorneys for The Palm Beach Post will argue for disclosure of the items. In a brief court appearance Thursday morning, Hoy set a hearing for April 6.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Merhige, 35, who is accused of opening fire on family members after their Thanksgiving meal, killing four — his twin sisters, an aunt and a 6-year-old child — and injuring two others.

The savage act, the month-long manhunt and his capture in the Keys motel room generated national publicity, including being featured on America's Most Wanted.


http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime/attorney-for-merhige-asks-evidence-against-him-be-500938.html?
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Re: Paul Michael Merhige captured in Long Key in Thanksgiving Day slaying of 4 family members

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