After Thanksgiving Slay Suspect Paul Merhige is Captured, Relief for Murdered Girl's Father

(Family Photo)
(AP Photo/Jupiter Police Dept.)
(AP Photo/ Jim Sitton via WPTV)
(AP Photo/ Jim Sitton via WPTV)
JUPITER, Fla. (CBS/AP) Jim Sitton said he'll stop patrolling his home with a loaded shotgun, now that the man accused of killing his 6-year-old daughter, Makayla, at a Thanksgiving family gathering in Florida is behind bars.

Photo: Jim Sitton with his daughter Makayla.

PICTURES: Thanksgiving Massacre Takes "Sweet" Makayla

"I'm elated that the monster is in the cage," Sitton told The Palm Beach Post. "It doesn't bring my daughter back, but at least this chapter is over."

After a month-long manhunt, Paul Merhige was booked early Sunday at the Palm Beach County jail without bond on four charges of murder. He's accused of gunning down his twin sisters, a 79-year-old aunt and 6-year-old cousin Makayla in Jupiter.

Photo: Paul Merhige.

PICTURES: Thanksgiving Massacre Takes "Sweet" Makayla

Makayla's father tells The Palm Beach Post that his family had police protection while Merhige eluded capture at a hotel in the Florida Keys.

Merhige's cover was blown when the hotel owners recognized him in a preview for the television show "America's Most Wanted" on Saturday night.

Photo: Makayla Sitton.

PICTURES: Thanksgiving Massacre Takes "Sweet" Makayla

Still, Jim Sitton says he feared that Merhige could "get to us before the cops were out of their cars."

Now Sitton says he feels safe enough to unload his shotgun.

The Palm Beach Post reported that Merhige remained silent at his first court appearance Sunday. He was assigned a public defender, and an arraignment is set for Feb. 1.

PICTURES: Four Dead in Thanksgiving Massacre

November 30, 2009 - "Sweet" Makayla Sitton (Photos): Paul Michael Merhige Still on Run in Thanksgiving Massacre
November 27, 2009 - Paul Michael Merhige Kills Three Women, Little Girl in Thanksgiving Massacre, Say Florida Police