Merring Sentenced

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The man who shot and killed a Panama City Beach restaurant worker, then shot himself, was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday.

Fifty-two-year-old Alvin Merring III, decided to forego a trial and pled guilty Wednesday afternoon to second-degree murder.

It was less than two-months ago, when Merring walked into Fin's Sandbar & Grill on Front Beach Road, walked into the kitchen, and killed the 66-year-old cook, Richard Medeiros.

Merring then put the gun to his own head and pulled the trigger. Though the shot did not kill him, it did cause severe health problems. He is blind in one eye.

Because of his poor health and the pile of evidence against him, Merring decided to plead guilty to second-degree murder Wednesday afternoon.

Judge Don Sirmons sentenced Merring to life in prison without the possibility of release for 25-years.

Steve Meadows, 14th Judicial Circuit State Attorney said, "He'll go to Lake Butler, which is the reception center to begin with and then they'll undertake a classification analysis of where he should be housed."

Lake Butler has a medical facility that can take care of Merring's health needs.

Because of Merring's poor health, Wednesday's hearing began earlier than expected.

One of Merring's three sons, Dustin missed the proceeding, and his last time to see his father.

The Medeiros family still seems to have a bond with those who are apart of the broken family.

Rick Medeiros, the victim's son said, "Dustin and I talked last night, there are no harsh feelings with any of it."

Police say the murder was a domestic issue.

Medeiros had married Merring’s ex-wife about four-months before the shooting.

Everyone seemed relieved to avoid a lengthy trial.

Steve Meadows said Wednesday, "The defendant made it possible for us to avoid the necessary aspect of going to trial and presenting witnesses and having a jury determine his guilt or innocence. This chapter is closed. It's time for the family to move on, to learn how to survive without him being here. I'm happy this didn't drag out for years."

The Department of Corrections has yet to decide where Merring will be imprisoned after he leaves Lake Butler.