The Paul Merhige case is over, but the scars for those who lost loved ones that fateful Thanksgiving day are far from healed. For nearly two years, Jim and Muriel Sitton have fought tooth and nail to make sure their daughter's murderer faced the death penalty.More >>
During the hearing Thursday, Paul Michael Merhige withdrew his previous plea of 'not guilty'. He also waived his insanity defense. Circuit Judge Joseph Marx then sentenced him to seven consecutive life terms.More >>
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Still no trial date for Paul Michael Merhige. He's charged with killing four family members in Jupiter last Thanksgiving.More >>
JUPITER, FL (WFLX) - Divers are searching a retention pond behind the home where Michael Paul Mehrige allegedly shot four members of his family, including his pregnant sister and a 6-year-old girl asleep in her bed.
Investigators won't say what they are looking for. Meanwhile, Mehrige is still at large.
Monday, police released a new picture of Mehrige which, they said, is a better likeness.
Investigators said he had been planning the murders for quite some time. "I can tell you the further we get into it, it was most definitely pre-meditated. And you know it definitely wasn't spontaneous," said Jupiter Police chief Frank Kitzerow.
As the search for Mehrige continues, the father of 6-year-old Makayla Sitton said he's actually found comfort by returning to the scene of an evil act.
"Everywhere you look there's evidence of her uniquely-gifted precious little self. And it's really comforting just to be in my baby's room," said Sitton.
Jim Sitton talked to a 911 dispatcher the night of the shooting.
Dispatcher: "The person with a gun, is he a white, black or hispanic male?"
Jim Sitton: "He is a hispanic man. He shot a room full of people. I think he shot my 6-year-old daughter."
Merhige was last seen operating a 2007 blue four-door Toyota Camry bearing Florida license plate W42-7JT. The vehicle has no tint on the windows and has a rear spoiler. He is considered armed and dangerous.
Police said Merhige told family members during the shooting that he'd been waiting 20 years to kill them.
Sitton said there were no arguments before the shooting and that Merhige wasn't acting strangely during the three hours of dinner, dessert and singing. During the shooting, Sitton says Merhige pointed the gun at his uncle and said he'd been waiting to kill him.
Authorities are still searching for Merhige and think he may be in the Detroit area, where he was treated by a doctor in the past year.
This article contains some information from the Associated Press.