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Finding Her Palm Coast, Nancy Grace Takes On Wife-Shooting Tonight, With FlaglerLive

| February 27, 2012

Don't mess with Nancy.

It’s not enough that Palm Coast is unemployment and foreclosure central in the national eye. Add now wife-shootings by husbands dumb enough to be playing with their AK-47s during a child’s bath time: I just finished taping a half-hour segment on Nancy Grace—CNN’s equivalent of a prosecutorial Panzer division of one—who’s taking on the case of William Merrill’s shooting of his wife in tonight’s show. So much for Palm Coast urging Americans to find their Florida here.

She wanted FlaglerLive to provide whatever scraps of information may not yet have been over-reported by now. None has. (The story is making the rounds of the world’s time zones and should by dawn reach Voyager II in the Kuiper belt.) I was happy to oblige anyway, my previous CNN appearance having taken place in the dead air of a Saturday afternoon (during oil-spill season) when a total audience of seven in North Dakota might’ve been watching. So it was nice to hear FlaglerLive’s name repeated a few times for a prime-time double-header (she’s on at 8 and 10 p.m.) Not to worry: I declined appearing on camera, the idea of shlepping it to Jacksonville again to speak 73 words in exchange for losing four hours out of my work day having about as much appeal as, say, hearing Hannity howl for five minutes, and my Skype connection–CNN’s other option–being too annoying to bother with. Stick to phone line and mug shot.

I might have dropped in three sentences here and there when she asked what we know so far—nothing you don’t know by now—and a couple of words about Merrill’s arsenal (he had 20 guns in his house, 14 of them rifles, counting the AK-47, including a .50-caliber piece). But Grace, who had me silenced at “20 guns,” was already at the sentencing stage.

I gave an answer she did not seem eager to hear when she asked whether it was true that Merrill had changed his story: the version on record so far is that he was pointing the gun at his wife, Stefanie, and chatting up the brightness of the laser beam when he pulled the trigger, supposedly not knowing it was loaded. Somewhere along the way a TV station reported that he’d initially told detectives that he was cleaning his gun, though there’s no word of that in the 7-minute 911 call where he describes himself pointing the gun at Stefanie.

Grace asked me what there was to the story. We don’t know that, I told her. Cue the editing shears. She turned to one of her producers for more fleshy details about the cleaning-the gun angle, then took that and went at one of the two defense attorneys she’d invited on the show, ridiculing the oldest excuse in the book: “I was cleaning my gun.” She does not like defense attorneys.

References to the AK-47 dropped like bullets in Beirut (I really should update that simile to something more current). She had a weapons expert on the show, who showed the weapon and how to chamber a bullet. When she asked him what the AK stands for, he didn’t know. She filled in the answer: “It stands for assault.” Close: Automatic is more like it (though it’s been mis-reported as standing for Alexander, after the gun inventor’s name, but there is no Alexander in “Mikhail Kalashnikov,”  and the guy got his K in there for recognition. The 47? That was the year the gun was approved for mass production in the Soviet Union by one of the century’s great mass murderers: Josef Stalin. I’m surprised Nancy didn’t drop his name for effect, the show being nothing if not about effect.

Editor’s Blog

I would have loved to bring up a disturbing detail in Merrill’s past: In July 2007 (a year after he was arrested for head-butting his wife, a case dropped when Stefanie asked the State Attorney’s office to drop the charges), when he was arrested for grand theft, he told the investigating officer that he was a felon—and that he had two .22 caliber Lady Derringers at his home. The officer asked him if he knew that it was against the law to own guns as a felon. Merrill knew. “Mr. Merrill stated that he would call his wife Stefanie Miller to gather the guns and turn them over” to the officer. The officer went to the Merrill house at 61 Westminster Drive and collected two .22-caliber Lady Deringers “and several boxes of bullets.”

The state attorney did not pursue charges.

One other detail, which Nancy Grace would have had no reason to be interested in, but which should be relevant to Flagler County readers: the arresting agency in the grand theft and weapons charges was the Bunnell Police Department. And the arresting and investigating officer? None other than John Murray, the same John Murray who, three days after the fatal shooting of Stefanie Merrill, copped a plea in Flagler County Circuit Court on six felony charges, down to a no-contest plea on a marijuana possession charge. He’s now on 18 months’ probation.

I never got the chance to tell her about “finding my Florida.” In light of what William Merrill was doing, literally playing around in his Palm Coast home, the opening lyrics of that clunky little jingle now serving as Palm Coast’s marketing pitch have a sound too ominous for comfort (see below). Considering the attention this case is getting, and may continue to get, the city’s marketing platoon might want to think about a little rewrite of that opening line: “You can feel at home while you play as you please.”

Tell that to Stefanie Merrill.

–Pierre Tristam

Palm Coast’s Unfortunate Jingle:

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38 Responses for “Finding Her Palm Coast, Nancy Grace Takes On Wife-Shooting Tonight, With FlaglerLive”

  1. Brian Gilbert via Facebook says:

    really….your gonna make me watch Nancy Grace?

  2. Kari Anne via Facebook says:

    Shocking that she’s not all over the Fischer incident.

  3. Maureen Vidal via Facebook says:

    I don’t have enough Tylenol OR alcohol in my house to turn that on! Good luck with the seven in North Dakota.

    • Bullgator2410 says:

      I have never consumed enough alcohol, narcotics or any such mind altering substance nor do I wish to… stomach Nancy Grace……and if enough of us feel this way………..WHY THE HELL DON’T THEY TAKE HER OFF CNN!? Pierre, shame on you, I would have told her nooooooooooooooooooo…..find some other Floozie!

  4. Shawn Taylor via Facebook says:

    She drives me abslotlutley nuts!

  5. Marilyn Falciglia De Poalo via Facebook says:

    Will she let Pierre say. Anything?

  6. Outsider says:

    Let’s see: put up with than annoying woman to watch a local story on national TV, or rearrange my sock drawer. Honey, have you seen my Nike ankle socks I use at the gym???

  7. PalmCoast says:

    I have watched Nancy Grace shows (in the past) and I refuse over the past year to even turn the channel on when it is her time frame. She is all about sensationalism and is extremely rude to her guests!! She is what is referred to as “slanted journalism”.

    • Ben Dover says:

      Well if this being on her show makes Palm Coast look bad , and no one will want to mov` here , hope it runs every night for a year , WE DON`T NEED NO MORE TRASH MOVING IN HERE ,THEY`VE ALREADY RUINED THIS CITY!!!!!! It used to be a nice quiet place to live , no traffic , no red camera lights , no getto fencing, no section 8`s and there were jobs!!!

  8. Angela Smith via Facebook says:

    A disgusting waste of air time.

  9. Sandra Reynolds via Facebook says:

    I’ll watch it but I cannot stand her listening to her voice.

  10. Kendall Clark-StJacques via Facebook says:

    I love Pierre but I can’t stomach Nancy Grace.

  11. Rocky Mac says:

    If anyone watched her during the Casey Anthony case, she was down right nasty. AND she knew all along what happened to Kaylee according to her.

  12. Maria Pugliese via Facebook says:

    Nancy Grace is a news soap opera.

  13. Kim Medley via Facebook says:

    I’ll take five minutes of Hannity and more over Grace on the Clinton News Network.

  14. Sal Passalaqua via Facebook says:

    does she not have anything else to talk about and use this story to continue the pain for the families.

  15. B. Claire says:

    Nancy Grace is probably the single most discredited, disgraced big mouth bully on TV. Yup…sock drawer beats her by a mile.

    Horrible tragedy…do hope all evidence comes to light…and that justice in the name of Stefanie is served. Deepest sympathy to her daughter who had to witness this and her extended family.

    Also one more tragedy that Flagler County, right wing gun nuts will ignore. We’re getting famous alright thanks to these Confederate flag, 2nd Amendment, let me have as many assault weapons as I want ‘folks’…who wind up killing innocent person after innocent person.

    • Sammy says:

      Listen up DEAR, if you don’t like this southern state please feel free to hop on that interstate a mile away and head north. All the way back to New York. There you can sit and mouth off to all those liberal no-guns allowed critons. I’ll buy your gas.

      • Bullgator2410 says:

        Oh hell yeah, Sammy! You buy the gas and I’ll pay their tolls to get ’em on the turnpikes!

        B. Claire: It’s not the 2nd ammendment. It’s the dumbasses that aren’t responsible with their given rights?!

  16. Anonymous says:

    What’s funny is everybody loved her when she crucified OJ. As a matter of fact that’s how she became a TV personality. If I ever needed an advocate I would be glad she was in my corner, but if I were the accused I would put my head between my legs and kiss my butt goodbye! She’s tough. Never Lost a murder trial and her first love was a victim of a senseless crime resulting in his death. I think that’s where the fire comes from.

  17. Outsider says:

    B. Claire, can you cite some specific examples of all these “folks” her in Flagler County who are killing “innocent person after innocent person?” Are you saying there are no murderers in New York?

    • Ben Dover says:

      I didn`t hear her say anything about being from up north , sounds more like she was attacking ignorant rednecks, that hunt deer with assault rifles , and fly a flag that is racist, and obviously don`t have the common sense to not point a gun at your wife while she giving the baby a bath ,then pull the trigger, are ya`s defending him???

  18. Lori Cooke-Young via Facebook says:

    There is something I won’t be watching. I can’t stand her. Couldn’t stand her when she was on Courtv, can’t stand her now.

  19. Bill McGuire says:

    The AK-47 is, in Russia, named the “Avtomat Kalashnikova,” after its inventor. It may well be the most massed produced weapon in the world because it is primarily made from stampings, as opposed to precision machining of steel. It was much feared in Vietnam, due to its firepower and durability. Many an American fighting man, when the opportunity presented itself, picked up a Kalashnikov from a fallen enemy, preferring the 9 mm punch over the comparatively light hitting .223 of the American M16. Its 9 mm round is lethal at short or long range. FWIW

  20. LOL you are all funny, but I happen to think she friggen kicks ass. She doesnt hold anything back and tells it like it is, something a lot of people are afraid to do.

  21. Justice says:

    Will this young man be able to get a fair trial anywhere in this country after this?

    Is this a new way to attract tourism….have a high profile case in court and hope it brings visitors from surrounding counties to bring in revenue?

    The family of the victim doesn’t deserve this.

  22. Shelly Edmonson via Facebook says:

    I love nancy grace. I will be watching….

  23. concerned says:

    My Heart goes out to the family loss the child who lost a mother, It may have been a accident, However the lesson to be learned and taught is to never point a gun at someone even if it is unloaded. Our kids play these video games and have no idea fake from real. I see a real problem with this in the future and the present. Teach gun safety and Mr. Merrill is it? Was not safe with his guns. And look what Happened

  24. Sandra Reynolds via Facebook says:

    She is a disgrace. What makes her an expert on “crying?” I don’t agree with her approach to this news coverage. Changing channel…. I’m not defending the husband….because everyone knows you NEVER, EVER aim a pistol/rifle/AK47 at a person, loaded or unloaded. If nothing he should be tried for stupidity. And what the hell is an AK47 doing in his home, especially with children? What kind of prey would he need an AK47 for?

  25. Valerie Ann King via Facebook says:

    He didn’t know it was loaded, yet he is a gun fanatic with over 20 guns in the house.

  26. Thinking says:

    Just now seeing this. I’d watch it. Maybe there’ll be a re-run.

  27. just me says:

    I can not stand her BUT,I do however want to see her make a mockery out of our so called “Law Enforcement” we have down here…This should be AWESOME to see.The same rules should apply to EVERYONE no matter who you are or who you know

  28. Donna De Poalo says:

    Well Pierre, you were great and nice to see Flagler Live on a national show. I cannot, however, believe that anyone watches these shows for news. Of course, we know they do and this is likely a good reason why our country is in such a mess. Shrieking, snarky,sarcastic show hosts do not a news anchor make.

    An aside…what was with the ads for that show? One was for portable catheters. It was like an SNL skit except it wasn’t..weird.

  29. some guy says:

    @)B. Claire says:
    Also one more tragedy that Flagler County, right wing gun nuts will ignore.)

    The gun nuts arethe ones who look to take away our rights under the Constitution. Also was the guns he owend legally gotten?? I think not he is/was a convicted criminal who I believe was not legally alowed to own them. So once again we are talking about criminal use ownership of them not about legal gun owners you know the “nuts”.

  30. flagler beach native says:

    where did bill come up with the 9mm AK. THE AK IS NOT A 9MM IT SHOOTS A 7.62X54 ROUNDIT IS CLOSE TO A 308 ROUND NOT A 9MM .

  31. David says:

    I like Nancy Grace, but the Daytona 500 takes preference. Born and raised in Florida.

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