MP3 Available Here
David Sitton, President of To Every Tribe Ministries , and his brother Jim Sitton, father of a murdered 6-year-old-girl, will address the theme: "A Killer Caught: An Update on the Sitton Family Thanksgiving Day Murders (And a Christian Response to Unspeakable Tragedy)".
On Tuesday, December 29, "Iron Sharpens Iron" aired an interview with David & Jim Sitton regarding this tragic story posted on the "America's Most Wanted" web site:
On Thanksgiving Day, extended family gathered in one Jupiter [Florida]home to celebrate, spend time with relatives, and enjoy the holiday. Of the 17 family members in the house, one was 35-year-old Paul Michael Merhige. The day appeared to be going fine, until the evening hours.
Cops say at some point, Merhige excused himself and walked out to his 2007 Toyota Camry. When he returned, they say he opened fire on his unsuspecting family.
Cops tell America's Most Wanted that Merhige targeted his twin sisters.
After shooting them, cops say he turned his attention to a 76-year-old aunt before his final act of cowardice.
Witnesses told cops that Merhige then shot and killed his final victim, a 6-year-old girl.
When the carnage was done, Carla Merhige and her twin sister Lisa Knight lay dead, along with Merhige's aunt, Raymonde Joseph, and his 6-year-old cousin, Makayla Sitton.
Cops say Merhige then fled in his car, which has not been found.
UPDATE:AMW Capture #1099 AMW Tipster Brings Down Thanksgiving Day Killer
On the night of Jan. 2, a tipster called the AMW hotline with information that would lead to AMW Direct Result Capture #1099.
The tipster told our hotline operator that a man fitting the description of accused killer Paul Merhige was staying at a hotel in Long Key, Fla. The man had checked into the hotel under a false name in early December, and had pre-paid for a two-week stay in cash.
The tipster had seen coverage on the Merhige story and knew he was being profiled on AMW. She was certain she'd seen him earlier that evening at the hotel. Hours after the call, Merhige was in custody.
On Jan. 5, Jim and Muriel Sitton, the parents of 6-year-old Makayla Sitton -- one of the four victims -- met with John Walsh before talking to the media after Merhige's arrest. At the press conference, they talked about the tipster’s courage, the cooperation of law enforcement and what Merhige’s capture means for their family’s pursuit of justice.
When the AMW hotline received the call, the tipster said a car resembling the Toyota Camry Merhige was believed to be driving was in their hotel parking lot underneath a car cover at that very moment.
In the name of justice, the tipster courageously went out of her way to lift up the tarp and find out the license plate number, knowing full well Merhige was holed up inside his hotel room. Had he emerged and spotted her, her life could have been in great danger.
According to Walsh, the tipster “knew this guy was alleged to have murdered four people and that he had plenty of guns in that room. … He could make them pay for doing what they did.”
But that didn’t stop the tipster from picking up the phone.
“They were smart enough to make the connection,” Jim Sitton said. “They were brave enough to go lift the tarp and get the tag number, and in this day and age, they made the call.”
Authorities ran the plates and found that they did not match Merhige’s vehicle. However, the plates were previously registered to a car owned by Merhige's father.
Based on the crucial bit of information received in the tip, police believed they had enough probable cause to move in on their target.
“Once they made the call, the U.S. Marshals took over and made the capture,” Sitton said.
When police arrived at the hotel, they saw lights on in the room where they believed Merhige was staying. Despite Merhige's barricade, the Marshals and Jupiter police busted through and took Merhige into custody, much to his surprise.
Large-Scale Cooperation Puts Fugitive Behind Bars
Merhige’s capture never could have taken place without a vast network of enterprises and agencies working together.
“I want to thank the Jupiter Police Department and Chief Kitzerow for never giving up on this case,” Walsh said. “This is the way it’s supposed to work. This is the partnership between law enforcement, the media, our television show and two loving, caring parents who never gave up searching. They wanted justice; they needed justice for themselves.”
His arrest is only the first part in filling the void felt by the victims' families.
“The monster is in a cage. Now we can get out of protective mode, and we can begin the process of healing,“ Sitton said.
Makayla’s father described to the press corps the need for closure his family so desperately needs.
“This is the first step to justice. We're not seeking vengeance in this case, but we would like justice. In Florida, we have the death penalty. And if there's anyone that deserves the death penalty, it would be someone that would go and execute my 6-year-old daughter in her bedroom while she’s in bed,” Sitton said.
Walsh had a message for prosecutors taking on the Merhige case.
“He needs to be held accountable. This is a guy who knows right from wrong. He planned this assassination. He was smart enough to stay on the run. The stuff they found in his motel is just a subterfuge. He wasn’t going to kill himself. He was going to stay out there as long as he could. This man deserves the death penalty. He’s crossed that line and killed that little girl. He killed four people, including a pregnant woman. He needs to pay,” said Walsh.
His is a sentiment echoed by all those entrenched in the manhunt for Merhige.
"It's a huge relief he's off the streets," stated Juniper Police Detective Eric Frank. He added, "This capture is proof positive AMW works."
Merhige made his first appearance in court Sunday, Jan. 3, the day following his arrest. Merhige has been charged with the violent murder of four family members and the attempted murder of another.
To hear the original interview with David & Jim Sitton on this case, originally aired prior to Paul Merhige's arrest: MP3 Available Here
To hear more about David Sitton's organization "To Every Tribe Ministries", listen to this previously recorded "Iron Sharpens Iron" interview with David originally aired in June: MP3 Available Here