On Thanksgiving Day in 2009, 35-year-old Paul Merhige opened fire and fatally wounded four of his relatives and injured two in Jupiter, Florida.
Nobody in attendance knew that a day of joy and gratefulness would soon turn into absolute horror.
Before Merhige drew his weapon, he spent three hours enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner and sing-alongs around the piano with 16 other family members. During this time, he was plotting the mass murder.
Jim Sitton, Merhige’s cousin-in-law, told CBS News that there were no warning signs before he went on his killing rampage.
“He had this whole thing pre-planned. His goal was to shoot his sisters and punish his parents,” Sitton explained.
Merhige shot and killed his 33-year-old twin sisters, Carla Merhige and Lisa Knight, who was pregnant. He also shot his 76-year-old aunt, Raymonde Josephe, and six-year-old cousin Makayla. Two others were wounded, but survived.
Sitton, Makayla’s father, doesn’t believe Merhige intended on murdering his little girl while she slept, but thinks he became enraged after the entire family was enchanted by her singing.
“He tried to snuff out the light,” Sitton said. “He came into a baby’s room. He saw her innocence and he walked in and purposefully killed her.”
Apparently, the slaughter of his family is something he had contemplated since he was just a teenager. During the killings, he was overhead saying, “I have been waiting 20 years to do this.”
Immediately after the slayings, he went into hiding for a few weeks, but was finally apprehended at the Edgewater Lodge after a tip was called in. Merhige is currently serving seven consecutive terms of life in prison for the Thanksgiving Day massacre.