Paul Merhige's first appearance

Posted by Rachel Leigh -  email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Paul Michael Merhige will sit in a Palm Beach County jail cell until his next court hearing in February.

Merhige stood before a judge Sunday shackled and in a blue jumpsuit. Seven sheriff's deputies surrounded him in almost a complete circle. Four others stood along the front benches.

Merhige stood silent staring straight ahead, only occasionally raising his eyebrows as if surprised even as the judge read out the list of charges.

Afterward, a whisper to the public defender and Merhige went back to his cell at the Palm Beach County jail -- denied bond.

The knowledge of his arrest finally wiping away some of the fear.

Since the murder, police have been stationed in front of the Sittons' home protecting not only them, but the neighborhood, as well. Merhige's arrest means the cruiser's will finally be gone.

"I feel a little safer in the community right now. There was a chance that he could come back. You never know when somebody's mentally unstable," said one neighbor.

A small peace finally knowing where Merhige is sleeping but also irritation it took so long to find him considering he was just in the Keys.

"I mean his face was plastered all over the country and for him just now to be caught after a month or so of being on the run. It amazes me that no one picked up on him sooner," another commented.

Paul Michael Merhige will be back in court on February 1. Until then, according to our partners at the Palm Beach Post, he is being held in the mental health unit at the jail in isolation.