Witness: Thanksgiving Killer Went Back to Shoot Girl Again

Paul Merhige, with an "evil haunting look," shot a sleeping six-year-old three times

The holiday shootings that devastated a family and horrified South Florida just became even more chilling.

New court documents obtained by the Sun-Sentinel detail how accused "Thanksgiving Killer" Paul Merhige not only shot six-year-old Makayla Sitton during a murderous attack on his family, but paused during his exit, apparently doubting that he had fatally wounded her.

He then returned to the little girl's room and shot her a second time, leaving her dead with bullets in her hip, back, and head.

The sleeping child, the only daughter of his cousin, was the fourth person Merhige allegedly killed last Thanksgiving day at a family gathering in Jupiter. His brother-in-law Patrick Knight survived gunshot wounds, slipping into a coma shortly after witnessing Merhige's rampage.

"He went and shot [Makayla] and came out and almost instantly, like a second thought, went right back in and shot her again, I guess to make sure she was dead," Knight told investigators after waking up in March.

Merhige, 35, had a history of mental illness and violent threats against his sisters. He was generally estranged from the family, but attended the Thanksgiving celebration after calling his parents.

"I hope he doesn't come and kill us all tonight," his mother Carole Merhige remarked to one of her daughters, according to new documents and audio recordings.

"Mom, it came to my mind," Lisa Knight reportedly replied. "But don't say that to Dad because Dad would get upset that we had such ideas."

Merhige sat calmly through the three-hour dinner in Jupiter. His sisters had sung and Makayla had recited Psalm 100 and gone to sleep when the one-time Gulliver Prep standout walked to his car and grabbed a handgun.

Police say he re-entered the home and shot his aunt, 76-year-old Raymonde Joseph, in the shoulder. Her husband cowering alongside, he placed the gun to Joseph's chest, blowing a hole in her sternum.

He then shot Knight and twin sisters Carla Merhige and Lisa Knight before heading in to the bedroom where Makayla slept.

Merhige fled the scene, touching off an intense, 38-day nationwide manhunt until a profile of him on an episode of "America's Most Wanted" led to his capture on Jan. 2 in a Keys motel room.

Charged with four counts of first degree murder, Merhige has been sitting in the Palm Beach County jail since his capture. Prosecutors have announced they'll seek the death penalty for Merhige, and a trial date is expected to be set in November.

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