This was originally published on www.yourerie.com by Jackie Roberts on Feb 21, 2018
Anger spilling outside of the courthouse as members of two families reportedly getting physical after a murder trial sentencing. The scuffle leading to two people being taken into custody after Erie County Sheriffs and Erie Police Officers ran outside to mediate the situation. The man convicted in that murder case faces up to 51 years behind bars.
More than a month has passed since a jury found Merle Page, Jr. guilty of third-degree murder in the death of Marcell Flemings. Marquisha Jones was left to raise two children by herself last January when Merle Page, Jr. shot and killed the father of her children, Marcell Flemings.
Jones says she brought her son to sentencing because, like her, he wanted closure. She tells us, “At the end of the day, he wanted to come and he wanted to know why his father had to die.”
Surveillance video from Shell Gas Station on East Sixth and Parade Streets showed Page going to the car, grabbing his gun, and shooting at Flemings five times. The judge sentenced Page to 25 years and eight months to 51 years and four months on third-degree murder charges.
The prosecution says that’s fair. Paul Sellers, Assistant District Attorney, says, “He shouldn’t have been there that night. He shouldn’t have had a gun. He should’ve taken the numerous opportunities he had to get out of the situation. Instead, he made the horrifying, and ultimately fatal, decision to shoot Marcell Flemming.”
The defense hoped for a shorter sentence and brought in witnesses who knew Page since he was a child to make the case that this heinous crime was out of character. Eric Hackwelder, Page’s Attorney, says, “We don’t believe that this was premeditated. We believed all along that this was sort of reckless conduct, that this happened spontaneously, that he didn’t think about it.”
And while the sentence won’t bring back Flemings, his loved ones say, finally, have some justice. Jones says, “He won’t be out for a long time. I just want peace for my kids and that’s all that matters to me.”
Page did take the stand and apologize to the Flemings family. The defense says they were hoping some of the charges would run concurrently instead of consecutive, but they were glad that Page di earn credit for the time he’s already served.