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Dad: Fla. Thanksgiving shootings were planned

Fort Lauderdale


Paul Michael Merhige, accused of shooting four relatives to death after Thanksgiving dinner in South Florida, told family members he had been waiting 20 years to kill them, the father of one of the victims said Tuesday. Police said Merhige shot his two sisters, 6-year-old cousin and 79-year-old aunt. One of his sisters was pregnant. "He had this whole thing preplanned. His goal was to shoot his sisters and punish his parents," said Jim Sitton, Merhige's cousin-in-law who was at the home of the shootings along with 16 other relatives. Sitton the father of 6-year-old Makayla, After the shooting, Sitton said, Merhige "turned and started to walk away and said, 'I have been waiting 20 years to do this,' " Sitton said. Authorities are still searching for Merhige.

New York

Mistrial ruling frees 'Junior' Gotti

A turncoat with Tampa ties got some of the blame for Tuesday's mistrial in the federal case against John "Junior" Gotti.

The deadlocked New York jurors couldn't decide whether Gotti had ordered people killed. But they agreed that John Alite, the government's star witness, bombed on the stand, finding him "the least credible," the Associated Press reported.

Alite, a former University of Tampa student, was once accused of heading a Gambino mob effort to move on Tampa using a valet service as a front. This was Gotti's fourth hung jury in five years. He was freed on $2 million bond while prosecutors decide whether to seek a fifth trial.

Panama City Beach

Man charged with making up robbery

A Panama City Beach man reportedly admitted to deputies that he lied about being robbed so he wouldn't have to tell his wife that he spent the money.

The Bay County Sheriff's Office reported that Jordan Paul Dominque, 30, was arrested and charged with making a false report. According to a report, Dominque called 911 from a Panama City Beach store and claimed that he was getting into his car when a man dressed in black hit him and took $100 in cash. But the store's surveillance video show Dominque walk out of the store, sit in his car for a short time and then go back inside to use the phone. Dominque was released on $750 bail.


'Dirty look' death earns life sentence

A Volusia County man accused in the fatal stabbing over a dirty look has been sentenced to life in prison.

Zeth Trawick was found guilty of second-degree murder in July. He was sentenced Monday to life in prison by Circuit Judge Frank Marriott.

Investigators said Trawick, 27, stabbed another man in a gas station parking lot in 2008. The fight was with Trawick's friend. The friend reportedly did not like how the victim looked at him. The men fought, but authorities say Trawick stabbed the victim in the neck.

Associated Press

Dad: Fla. Thanksgiving shootings were planned 12/01/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 9:48pm]
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