Family Still Grieving A Year After Thanksgiving Shootings

Parents who lost daughter plan on celebrating holiday at home

It's been nearly a year since Paul Merhige allegedly gunned down four family members during a Thanksgiving dinner gathering in Jupiter, but one of those relatives who lost a daughter in the carnage still plans on celebrating the holidays at the same home.

Jim and Muriel Sitton, who lost 6-year-old daughter Makayla in the massacre, said they won't let one madman's murderous spree keep them from celebrating what's important.

"We have a lot of years of great memories of our lives in our house, and four minutes of violence doesn't take that away," Jim Sitton told the Palm Beach Post. "On Thanksgiving, there's nowhere else I'd rather be."

It was at the Sitton home on Thanksgiving of last year that the Merhige family gathered for dinner, and where Paul Merhige allegedly carried out his brutal shooting spree.

Police said Merhige, 36, sat calmly through Thanksgiving dinner before excusing himself, going to his car and grabbing his handgun.

When he came back into the house, he opened fire and when the smoke had cleared, four people were dead, including his twin sisters, Carla Merhige and Lisa Merhige Knight, aunt Raymonde Joseph, and little Makayla, his cousin's daughter.

Two family members were also wounded but survived, including Patrick Knight, Lisa's husband, who spent three months in a coma before finally awaking, only to learn his wife was dead.

Merhige went on the run for nearly 40 days, his flight turned into a segment on "America's Most Wanted." He was finally captured in January, in a Key West motel. He's now charged with four counts of first degree murder and is awaiting trial in jail.

For Knight, who has recovered enough to go back to practicing law, that trial and his inevitable involvement in it only brings dread.

"I'm going to be at the center of the circus," he told the Post.

Though the Sitton family remains strong, their pain is all-too evident in the home, where Makayla's room remains just as she left it one year ago.

"How do you turn that page?" Jim Sitton said. "We know it happened. But it's hard to let our baby go."

Contact Us