Aragon man sentenced to life in prison without parole for murdering his wife

A former soldier who was convicted of killing his wife will spend the rest of his life in prison, after a judge heard arguments from both sides Tuesday morning.

According to District Attorney Jack Browning, Shay Merritt of Aragon was found guilty on malice murder, felony murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, aggravated assault family violence, and first degree child cruelty back on August 5.

“The judge gave us the appropriate sentence in this case,” said Browning.  “As I indicated when I first got involved in this case, it was apparent just how dangerous this guy was and I believe the judge saw it too.”

Superior Court Judge Michael Murphy told Merritt during sentencing that he was “thinking about the children,” and that “they will suffer for the rest of their life.”

Calling Merritt the “ultimate predator,” Murphy sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole on the malice murder conviction.

“The cruelty to children first degree is a twenty year sentence,” said Browning.  “Given the heinous nature of it, the judge did that as a consecutive sentence, basically life plus twenty years without the possibility of parole.”

The counts of felony murder and aggravated assault were vacated by Judge Murphy due to the malice murder conviction.

Browning said Merritt fatally shot his wife in the head execution style at her apartment in front one of her children on September 17, 2011.