Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods
A Holiday Crime Buffet
Thanksgiving Day Killer
Thanksgiving Day Killer
At Thanksgiving dinner 2009 Paul Merhige (pictured) spent three hours with his family at the home of his cousins Jim and Muriel Sitton, ate dinner, and even sang songs before fatally shooting his aunt, Raymonde Joseph, 79, his twin sisters Carla Merhige and Lisa Knight and Makayla Sitton, 6, who was in her bed. Mikayla's father Jim said that, after opening fire, Merhige said, "I have been waiting 20 years to do this." Court records later revealed that Merhige had had a bad relationship with his sisters, had threatened to kill them on several occasions as well as himself. At the time of the shooting, he was being treated for mental illness. It seems Merhige's intent was to kill his sisters, one of whom was pregnant, and then commit suicide in order to punish his parents. Merhige did not kill himself, though, but instead led police on a five-week manhunt. After Merhige's apprehension, his lawyers were naturally planning an insanity defense, even though many of his actions showed premeditation.

Controversially, prosecutors elected not to pursue the death penalty, and instead offered Merhige a plea deal in exchange for a full confession. On October 27, 2011, Merhige accepted a sentence of seven consecutive life sentences, and was assured by the judge, "You'll never see the light of day."
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