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William Merrill Charged With Manslaughter for Killing His Wife With AK-47; 20 Guns at Home

| February 23, 2012

Flagler County Sheriff's deputies recovered 25 firearms from William Merrill's house on Covington lane in Palm Coast. (FCSO)

Last Updated: 9:16 p.m.

The description of William Merrill’s killing of wife is stark: “During the interview,” the police report states, in reference to Merrill’s interrogation with detectives at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Investigation Division, Merill “stated he obtained his rifle located in the bathroom closet and activated its laser, pointing it on the chest of his wife. [Merrill] further stated while the laser was activated, he pulled the trigger, resulting in the discharge of his firearm and the injury and death of his wife.”

The shooting, with an AK-47 assault rifle, took place Tuesday morning, Feb. 21. Stefanie Merrill had been giving a bath to her 3-year-old daughter. The couple’s 6-year-old son was in school.

She was 30.

William Merrill, who goes by Carson, was arrested today, charged with manslaughter, as well as possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and held at the Flagler County jail on $200,000.

The standard AK-47 assault rifle.

Merrill told detectives that he and his wife were talking about the brightness of the laser light as he pointed it at her chest when the gun accidentally fired. An autopsy was conducted today, According to that report, the bullet entered Stefanie’s chest and exited through her back. The reports don’t specify where she stood in relation to her daughter.

Deputies recovered 20 firearms at the Merrill home, which they were renting, at 94 Covington Lane in north Palm Coast, near the main canal.

Merrill called 911 after the shooting, and was asked to exit the house without his weapon when deputies arrived. “Upon entry of the residence by law enforcement, they located a female lying in the master bathroom with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest,” the police report states. “The victim was pronounced deceased by paramedics at the scene.”

Deputy Daniel Parthemore was first to enter the house after William Merrill was secured in the back of a patrol car after 9:17 a.m. Tuesday. Stefanie was on her back in the bathroom, unresponsive, with her eyes open and a rolled up towel on her chest. Her 3-year-old daughter was still in the bathtub. Parthemore took care of the child, wrapped her in a white robe, and took her to another room. “The child appeared to be calm and kept saying that’s my mommy,” the deputy’s report states.

The children have been in their grandparents’ custody in Palm Coast since the shooting.

Merill, who worked at a car dealership in St. Augustine, was arrested in 2006 after a fight with Stefanie in which, a police report stated at the time, he head-butted his wife and threw her on the bed as they argued over finances. He was jailed, but no charges were pursued. “The events of 7/14/06 were truly an isolated incident,” Stefanie Merrill wrote at the time. “I have no fear of my husband, and I would like to begin counseling as soon as possible so we can rectify our problems. I would like to clarify that this type of behavior has never taken place before this, and that I as well as our 16-month-old son miss him very much.”

In 2007, William Merrill served 90 days in jail for grand theft after stealing materials from his workplace and re-selling the material out of his home. He was on three years’ probation.

The weapons recovered at the house include 13 rifles or shotguns and several hand guns–including .44, .38 and .22-caliber handguns. Deputies also recovered a blue bag and a black bag, each with a stash of ammunition.

William Merrill arrest warrant


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33 Responses for “William Merrill Charged With Manslaughter for Killing His Wife With AK-47; 20 Guns at Home”

  1. Angela Smith via Facebook says:

    So the story has changed from “just inspecting the gun” to actually POINTING a loaded weapon at his wife’s CHEST? And “accidently” pulled the trigger?

  2. Heather D'Ascheberg via Facebook says:

    That poor child! Her Mother is giving her a bath one minute and the next her mother is dead.

  3. Sandra Reynolds via Facebook says:

    Now let’s hear from the NRA…..I hope they trace down the firearm dealer.

  4. Layla says:

    She may have not had any fear of him, but he killed her, didn’t he?

  5. Sandra Reynolds via Facebook says:

    I knew he looked familiar but I couldn’t place him. Now I know where I saw him.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m trying to figure out how is that not murder? Everyone remember 10, 20 LIFE. Well this guy took a life committing a crime FELON IN POSSESSION OF GUNS. Charge him with murder let him plead it down to manslaughter if that’s the case. Considering the amount of weapons and his past it should be murder. It has to be politics and statistics involved. If a career cop can stonewall at the outset of and elderly woman’s death. Just imagine all the case juggling and face saving what we don’t know about.

    • Alexa says:

      In Florida 10,20, Life is for the same felony committed three times. If someone is convicted or enters a no contest or guilty plea for a third charge of let’s say, grand theft, they are supposed to get life.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why wasn’t he at work?

  8. palmcoaster says:

    He is a bully and spousal abuser that belongs in prison the rest of his life, at least! Never to lay a hand on his children unless thru the prison bars. He killed a good young woman that loved him and was a good mother to their children. This time even the neighbors were totally misguided by false appearances.

  9. Anonymous says:

    look a the bail for the suspect of this case “Pizza Delivery Leads to SWAT Swarm and Arrest of Man Wanted for Serial Burglaries”

    Now look at Mr. Stone Colds bail for taking a life. Just don’t understand it.

    • agnese says:

      I was going to say that too. What does not make sense>

    • I wanna know says:

      How is setting a bond determined, and who is responsible for setting bonds? Maybe it is a time for an investigation to hold those responsible accountable. I can’t believe our Sheriff doesn’t keep up on day to day crime and recognize inconsistency in bond setting, as I am sure our judges do when having the final say at first appearances.

    • Anita says:

      They didn’t even mention child endangerment with which he should also have been charged.

  10. VVincent says:

    Amazing … domestic violence .. head butting … inspecting a gun .. then talking about how brightness of the laser pointed at her chest .. I doubt she was talking about how bright it was … she probably didn’t have time to say … DON”T point that thing at me … unreal ….

  11. palmcoaster says:

    I am glad that this community is waking up. Yes look at the two bails in comparison. Manslaughter only, a Felon in posession of all those weapons? What is up with these judges? A woman’s life has not value around here? Why is taking so long Francoise Pequeur investigation? Why Fischer is not in jail yet?

  12. Chuck says:

    Rule #1 always check a gun to see if it’s loaded.
    Rule #2 never point a gun at anything you don’t plan to shoot.
    Rule #3 don’t put your finger on the trigger till you’re ready to shoot.
    Rule #4 be aware of your surroundings and what’s behind your target.
    This whole story smells of BS. You don’t “accidentally” pull the trigger
    while you have a gun with a laser pointer ‘”accidentally” pointed at someone’s chest.
    This guys walking around testing his laser on his wife in front of his kids. No wonder his wife
    didn’t want to press charges on the earlier charges, she was probably afraid
    for her life. Should be a murder charge. Hope they lock him up forever.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t look like he’s too upset in that fresh mugshot. This guy had 25 plus guns. Your telling me he didn’t know what he was doing pointing a loaded gun capable of cutting a person in half at his wife while she bathed their child. In the street AK47′s are called Choppers because they chop there target down. No firearm education in the world was going set this guy straight. First rule, Felon can’t own a gun, he broke everyone imaginable. Really surprised Manslaughter and not Murder. It’s not a mistake when you point and pull the trigger on a loaded weapon you shouldn’t have to begin with.

  14. John Boy says:

    He reminds me of Rick Scott, physical attibutes, obeying laws, concern for children and the way he treats women.

  15. Dudley Doright says:

    Too bad he is charged with manslaughter and not First Degree Murder! I hope he does not make bail. Let’s not be fooled by his crocidile tears. Stark is waiting with a cell for him. I hope he gets life with no parole. Accidental shooting my ass!

  16. I wanna know says:

    Were the guns that were recovered, registered or stolen?

  17. Marty says:

    Let me see if I have this right. If you shoot and kill your wife with an AK-47 in Flagler Cty, but then you report it as accidental, it’s just manslaughter. Even though the Medical Examiner rules it HOMICIDE per the News-Journal report today.

    • letsgetreal says:


      The word homicide is a label referring to any death caused by another person, intentional or unintentional. The classification “murder” (and sublevels thereof) is used for those homicides that are committed intentionally. The classification “manslaughter” (and sublevels thereof) is used for those homicides that are committed unintentionally.

      Thusly, all murders are homicides, but all homicides are not murders.

  18. BE HONEST says:

    I’m glad they arrested him again. His story sounds like a bunch of BS to me. Chuck your right Murder should be the charge and Palm coaster you sound like you might personally know his situation. if he was abusing his spouse then maybe you should go forward to authorities and let them know that.

  19. AngelEyez says:

    I agree he should be charged with murder. I cannot believe any of this ”story” he’s told to explain what happened, none of it makes any sense.. and then he leaves the baby in the tub until police come?? What? That is just not normal… something seriously wrong here, what has he done and for whom, so that he has only gotten this manslaughter charge? Flagler County, man, I tell ya.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Manslaughter? Law Enforcement is throwing this guy a life-line right out of the gate! Not because they like him but because they dropped the ball when he didn’t get thrown under the jail when first caught as a felon with a gun. Where are the charges for “reckless endangerment”, Discharging a fire arm within city limits”? If he truly loved and loves his wife he will drop to his knees and throw himself at the mercy of the court, admit guilt without trial acknowledging this is why he should not have had possession of 25 guns and accept whatever punishment is handed out. That’s a real-man and husband who is sorry.

  21. Anita says:

    “Manslaughter????” A man with an arsenal in his home points a loaded weapon at his wife, with his finger ON the trigger, “accidentally fires” (according to him) and he’s charged with manslaughter? What is he, another of the Sheriff’s buddies?

  22. Profiler says:

    My husband tells me the Grand Jury will review the case and can up the charge to Murder. The current charge was decided by the State Attorney’s Office. I was so mad about the charge also.
    My heart breaks for this young mother and what hell she must have been living through.

  23. palmcoaster says:

    Everyone not agreeing here with his manslaughter charge call the State Attorney’s Larizza office..
    @To be Honest I do not know this individual personally and I went by what was described in his first incident of “head butting” his wife in 2006. We used to have a friend years ago that had a boyfriend that once on a while when enraged head butted her and or her face. I saw the photos of her injuries. Finally the beatings caused her a miscarriage of her fist baby, that finally made her walk away from him for good. She found a real gentleman in her life and is happily married now. This butt head to wives or girlfriends is rather common, by abusers. Eighteen years ago occasionally I used to volunteer in the former Safe House in Bunnell and sadly you learn a lot while trying to help.

  24. smiller says:

    If we could only make every gun in the world go away!

  25. Ken Dodge says:

    [quote]Chuck says:
    February 24, 2012 at 12:33 am

    Rule #1 always check a gun to see if it’s loaded.[/quote]

    All guns are always loaded…all of the time, even when they are ’empty’.

  26. MJHS97 says:

    I have known both of them for a long time. In my opinion, Carson was always a little off. I feel so bad for all of Stefanie’s family. I also feel bad for Carson’s family. I pray for those two babies that have lost their parents.

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