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Palm Beach County Wrongful Death Lawsuits Blame Alleged Shooter’s Parents for 2009 Thanksgiving Killings in Jupiter, Florida

The surviving loved ones of the victims that were killed at a Thanksgiving family gathering in 2009 have filed their Palm Beach County wrongful death lawsuits against the parents of the man who allegedly shot them. 6-year-old Makayla Sitton, 76-year-old Raymonde Joseph, and Lisa Knight, who was pregnant, all died that day, after Paul Merhige allegedly shot them. The plaintiffs are blaming Paul’s parents, Carole and Michael Merhige for the tragic incident. Lisa, was Paul’s sister, and Makayla was also related to them. Raymonde was Makayla’s grandmother. Paul has pleaded not guilty to their murders. Makayla’s parents, Jim and Muriel Sitton, and Raymonde’s husband Antoine Joseph, are the plaintiffs of one Palm Beach County, wrongful death complaint. In the Sittons and Joseph’s lawsuit, they blame Michael and Carole for inviting Paul to Thanksgiving dinner even after knowing that he wasn’t taking his medication and he owned a gun. The couple was reportedly afraid of her son and what he might do. The Sittons and Joseph are also accusing Jim, who is a former CIA agent, of acting negligently when he didn’t stop his son when the shooting started or call 911 even though he had a phone. In his Jupiter, Florida wrongful death complaint, Patrick Knight is also seeking damages from his in-laws. Not only did he lose his wife and unborn child, but he too almost died in the shooting when bullets entered his stomach. Patrick was in a coma for three months. It wasn’t until he woke up that he learned that his wife and their unborrn child had died. Knight contends that Michael and Carole had a duty to protect the Thanksgiving attendees from Paul, who was someone that they knew had “dangerous propensities” and was capable of “irrational violence” and “aggressiveness” toward extended family and immediate relatives. Some 16 people attended the Thanksgiving gathering in Jupiter that year. Police say that Paul, who was already was at the event, left and then returned with his gun. They say that he then told the guests that he’d been waiting “to do this” for “20 years.” After the shootings, Paul fled and it was over a month before he was apprehended. His criminal trial is scheduled for January. Knight contends that since Paul’s parents were the ones that got him a passport, they must have been aware that their son was going to take off. Florida Wrongful Death To sue someone for wrongful death, that party doesn’t need to have been the direct cause of your loved one’s passing. However, negligence on his/her part may have played a role in allowing the death to happen. Obtaining Palm Beach wrongful death damages can allow you to feel as if you've hold the responsible party accountable for the actions that contributed to the loss of your loved one’s life. This won’t bring your family member back, but it can provide you with some financial and emotional relief. Paul Merhige, Alleged Thanksgiving Killer, Seen in Gun Shop Video Day Before Massacre, CBS News, December 7, 2009 More Blog Posts: University of Central Florida Freshman May Have Been Drinking At Fraternity Party Prior to Her Death, Florida Injury Attorney Blog, August 26, 2011 Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit Blames Volusia County for Truck Accident on Beach that Killed 4-Year-Old, Florida Injury Attorney Blog, August 11, 2011 Miami-Dade Wrongful Death Suit Filed Against Homestead Day Care in Toddler’s Death, Florida Injury Attorney Blog, July 14, 2011

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