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EXCLUSIVE: After The Plea, Merhige’s Victims Move On

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JUPITER, Fla. (CBS4) – She was a happy and playful 6 year old girl who was gunned down in her bed.

Makayla Sitton was shot and killed by her cousin Paul Merhige, she just met him that day. Merhige was sentenced Thursday to 7 life sentences.

The Sitton famiy is furious Merhige did not stand trial, or face a possible death sentence.

“He slaughtered us!” said Jim Sitton, Makayla’s father.  “I wanted the whole world to see what that bastard did to my child.”

Also murdered in the family massacre was Makayla’s grandmother and twin cousins.  It happened t the Sitton’s Jupiter home on Thanksgiving 2009, where the family had been celebrating and singing around the piano.

“The killer,” Sitton told CBS 4’s Ted Scouten,  “he had us trapped in this room right here and he just started shooting,” he explained while showing Scouten where the murder happened inside their home.

Sitton told Scouten he remembers that terrifying night  and the helpless feeling when he tried to save his daughter.   “I heard my daughter gasp, “ he said, “and then pow, pow, pow.”   “He walked up and he shot her point blank in the head, in the heart and in the chest,” Sitton explained while standing over his daughter’s bed.  “I just started compressing her chest and begging. I was begging her, ‘don’t go baby, please don’t go’,” he cried.

Gone forever is Makayla’s laughter, but the Sittons say they will not live in bitterness and defeat.  They’re moving forward.  In fact, they’re expecting another baby in March, a little girl.

“This house used to be a home and now it’s just a house that’s just listen, it’s deadly silent!” he said. “This baby is going to bring laughter and joy into our home. “  They still haven’t agreed on a name yet.  Jim is leading toward “Natalie.”  That was the name of Makayla’s favorite doll.

The baby will move into Makayla’s room sharing her toys and clothes and bringing happiness to her thrilled parents.  But it’s still bittersweet as the Sittons will never forget the little girl they’ll never hold again.

The Sittons are keeping Makayla’s memory alive by setting up a website, that helps children enjoy the things Makayla enjoyed, like singing, dancing and reading.

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