Troy Merck was sentenced to death by the State of Florida for the murder of James Newton. According to court documents a fight broke out outside of a bar and Troy Merck would murder James Newton. Troy Merck would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
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Newton died after Merck repeatedly stabbed him while the two men were in the parking lot of a bar in Pinellas County shortly after 2 a.m. on October 12, 1991. The bar had closed at 2 a.m., and several patrons of the bar remained in the parking lot. The evidence was that several of these individuals, including the victim, Merck, and those who witnessed the murder, had consumed a substantial amount of alcohol during the evening while at the bar.
After closing, Merck and his companion, both of whom had recently come to Florida from North Carolina, were in the bar’s parking lot. The two were either close to or leaning on a vehicle in which several people were sitting. One of the car’s occupants asked them not to lean on the car. Merck and his companion sarcastically apologized. The victim approached the car and began talking to the car’s owner. When Merck overheard the owner congratulate the victim on his birthday, Merck made a snide remark. The victim responded by telling Merck to mind his own business. Merck attempted to provoke the victim to fight; however, the victim refused.
Merck then asked his companion for the keys to the car in which he had come to the bar. At the car, Merck unlocked the passenger-side door and took off his shirt and threw it in the back seat. Thereafter, Merck approached the victim, telling the victim that Merck was going to “teach him how to bleed.” Merck rushed the victim and began hitting him in the back with punches. The person who had been talking to the victim testified that she saw a glint of light from some sort of blade and saw blood spots on the victim’s back. The victim fell to the ground and died from multiple stab wounds; the main fatal wound was to the neck.
Merck was indicted on November 14, 1991, for the first-degree murder of James Anthony Newton. The case went to trial and ended in a mistrial on November 6, 1992, because the jury was unable to reach a verdict. After a second trial, Merck was found guilty as charged. The jury recommended death by a vote of nine to three․ The trial court sentenced Merck to death.
Troy Merck has been resentenced a number of times over the years