Slain girl's dad relieved by Thanksgiving Day murder suspect's capture

"America's Most Wanted" host Adam Walsh, left, walks with Muriel and Jim Sitton of Jupiter, Fla. following a news conference about an international manhunt for Paul Merhige in Miami Beach, Fla. Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009. Merhige is accused of killing four people at a family Thanksgiving dinner in Jupiter, Fla. The Sitton's 6-year-old daughter Makayla was one of the victims.

Lynne Sladky/The Associated Press
Published: Monday, January 4, 2010 at 6:54 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 4, 2010 at 6:54 a.m.

JUPITER, Fla. — The father of a 6-year-old girl slain at a Thanksgiving family gathering in Florida says he'll stop patrolling his home with a loaded shotgun, now that the man accused of killing her is behind bars.

After a monthlong manhunt, Paul Merhige was booked early Sunday at the Palm Beach County jail without bond on four charges of murder. He's accused of gunning down his twin sisters, a 79-year-old aunt and 6-year-old cousin Makayla Sitton in Jupiter.

Makayla's father Jim tells The Palm Beach Post that his family had police protection while Merhige eluded capture at a hotel in the Florida Keys. Still, Jim Sitton says he feared that Merhige could "get to us before the cops were out of their cars."

Now Sitton says he feels safe enough to unload his shotgun.

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