Saturday, February 6, 2010

Death Penalty Juror Weighs In On Massacre Suspect Facing Death

Juror In Turnpike Murders Speaks About Merhige Being Tried As Death Penalty Case

POSTED: 12:36 pm EST January 29, 2010
UPDATED: 3:04 pm EST January 29, 2010

JUNO BEACH, Fla. -- A juror in the turnpike murder trial who helped sentence the killers to death said that when innocent children are involved, it makes it easier to send someone to death row.

Rick DiCresce said jurors in Paul Michael Merhige's death penalty case will face a similar situation.

"A little 6-year-old was killed while she was sleeping," said DiCresce. "You know, that's how I felt about the turnpike murders. I saw no reason why the children needed to be killed."

DiCresce helped convict and send Ricardo Sanchez and Daniel Troya to death row for fatally shooting a family of four, including 3- and 4-year-old boys. The family was found dead on the side of Florida's Turnpike near Port St. Lucie on Oct. 13, 2006.
Merhige is accused of fatally shooting four relatives, including his 6-year-old cousin, after a Thanksgiving dinner in Jupiter. He is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder.

The Palm Beach County state attorney Thursday announced plans to try Merhige as a death penalty case.

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