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Thanksgiving Killer Plagued By Mental Illness

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WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami/AP) – A South Florida man who gunned down four of his relatives in a Jupiter home last Thanksgiving was depressed and controlled by obsessive compulsive rituals, according to recently released medical records.

Last month, Paul Merhige plead guilty in the deaths of his 73-year-old aunt Raymonde Joseph, his cousin’s 6-year-old daughter Makayla Sitton, and his 33-year-old twin sisters Carla Merhige and Lisa Knight, who was pregnant. In exchange for his plea which spared him the death penalty he was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences.

The Palm Beach Post reported Sunday that the records show he still sucked his thumb at age 24, sometimes wore two pair of underpants and took five-hour showers.

The documents also say Merhige tried to kill himself at least twice and told numerous psychiatrists that he couldn’t get death off his mind. His mental illnesses were so severe that he had to give up plans for law school and couldn’t function on his own.

The night of the massacre, Thanksgiving dinner was just winding down at the home of Jim when Merhige got a gun and opened fire. After a five-week manhunt, he was finally captured on January 2nd, 2010 on Long Key.

Makayla Sittons parents and Lisa Knight’s husband Patrick have each filed a suit against Merhige’s parents, Michael and Carole, claiming they knew of their son’s “dangerous propensities” and failed to protect their relatives.

The Merhiges have denied that claim.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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