(from PalmBeachPost.com) – The shiny brown lock of Makayla Joy Sitton’s hair hung in the air for a moment as her father Jim Sitton (bottom left) dropped to his knees in the crowded courtroom.
He clutched the hair in his hand as he begged prosecutors and the judge one last time to stop the plea conference that would spare the life of his 6-year-old daughter’s killer. Deputies rushed to stop him. Circuit Judge Joseph Marx told Sitton to stop, get up and go back to his seat.
No matter what Sitton did, the judge later said, the fact that prosecutors had agreed to not to pursue the death penalty against Paul Michael Merhige (top right) for the massacre he unleashed on his own family after Thanksgiving dinner two years ago had made life in prison the only available option.
Marx sentenced Merhige Thursday to seven consecutive terms of life in prison, accepting a plea agreement between Merhige’s attorneys and prosecutors that came less than three months before the case was set to go to trial.
“He will never see the light of day,” Marx said.….Cont….