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A Thanksgiving Killer

(Photo Courtesy of Palm Beach Post)
(Photo Courtesy of Palm Beach Post)

Thanksgiving: a holiday spent gathered around the table with your relatives eating your favorite dishes, counting your blessings, and sometimes even indulging in the yearly family drama. What Paul Merhiges family members did not expect on their holiday was a side of cold-blooded murder. 

Paul Michael Merhige was born in September 1974 to his loving parents Michael and Carole Merhige. After Paul turned two, his family grew larger as his two twin sisters, Carla and Lisa, were born. Growing up, Paul was described as the family’s “golden boy.” He was a star athlete in multiple sports including baseball, soccer and football, and did well academically, even graduating third in his class from Gulliver Prep. After graduating high school, he had big plans to attend University of Miami to become a doctor. In his high school yearbook, he even shouted out his family members in a long and kind-worded paragraph for their endless support, ending it with, “I love you now and will forever.” 

Paul did make it to the University of Miami after high school. For many, this transitional period opens a chapter full of self-discovery, success, and fulfillment, but for Paul, it was only the beginning of his struggles. At 19, Paul began struggling with intense OCD and depression symptoms. He would shower and shave several times throughout the day along with other compulsions. He also became obese and struggled with hair loss. At the age of 20, Paul dropped out of college and became completely dependent on his family and was even deemed legally disabled. 

Paul’s family tried to support him through this tough time, but eventually, it just became too much for the family. Paul had become violent and cold, especially towards his sisters; he envied them – they had become what he used to be. The girls were athletic, intelligent, and beautiful. Paul threatened to kill them and even claimed that they had been abusive towards him. This behavior, along with suicidal thoughts, led to Paul being hospitalized three times. His parents decided to move him out to a condo.  

After being physically separated from his family, Paul’s relationship with them only lessened. He became an outsider in his own family. He was no longer invited to typical family gatherings, even on holidays. This ultimately led to even more resentment of his sisters and even his family as a whole. 

On Thanksgiving of 2009, Paul’s family was celebrating the holiday at his cousin-in-law Jim Sutton’s house. Paul’s father received a call from Paul as it had been quite a few years since any major incident, and Paul seemed to be doing well. The father decided to invite Paul. Paul arrived at the dinner about an hour and a half late. He met his 6-year-old niece, Makayla, for the first time and caught up with the rest of his family. As his family ate, he just sat at the table, and after an hour, he got up and walked to his car.  

After about an hour, he returned to the house with a gun in hand. He walked in and shot his aunt, Ramonda Joseph, in the shoulder and chest. When her husband tried to stop the bleeding, Paul tried to shoot him, but the gun jammed up twice. He then moved on to his twin sisters, first shooting Carla, and then Lisa, who was pregnant at the time. Paul also continued to shoot Lisa’s husband Patrick Knight, who survived, but was placed in a medically induced coma for three months. Next, he shot Clifford Gebara, his cousin, but he survived as his wounds were minor. Paul then made his way through the house in 6-year-old MaKayla’s room where she was peacefully sleeping. He shot her five times, in her head, hip and back. He then walked back out of the house pausing at the door to announce that he had “been waiting twenty years to do this.”  

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About the Contributor
Chloe McCarthy, Staff Reporter
Chloe is a senior staff reporter, and it is her second year on The Print. She’s on the varsity field hockey team and enjoys volunteering with the local rec field hockey team as well. In her free time, she loves spending time with her friends and her cats. 
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