KEY WEST, August 20, 2019 – A Summerland Key man is returning to Florida State Prison after pleading out to several criminal charges.
On August 8, Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Mark Jones sentenced Nicholas Merkey, 31, to 30 months in prison after Merkey pleaded no contest to felony battery, fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement, leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage, and resisting an officer without violence. He also admitted to violating probation.
Assistant State Attorney Patrick Flanigan represented the state.
Jones had placed Merkey on 48 months of probation on September 13, 2018, after he pleaded guilty to felony battery with priors stemming from an incident on May 28, 2018. In that case, Merkey got into an argument at his residence with his mother’s significant other but initially denied intentionally striking him. However, the victim told Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies Merkey struck him twice in the back of the head; a witness confirmed that.
Merkey was arrested again this year after an incident on Ramrod Key. The arrest violated terms of his probation.
Deputies were called to the Looe Key Tiki Bar about 9:20 p.m. on February 18 about a fight in progress. When they arrived, they were told the person who started it, Merkey, had left in a Ford F-150. Deputies found him a short distance away at a convenience store. He had “markings consistent with being in a physical altercation, such as bumps and bruises on his head, a bloody lower lip, blood on his hands and shirt, and his shirt was torn,” a deputy wrote in a report.
Merkey admitted to being in a fight with another man over his ex-girlfriend and said he was the one who was attacked. But witnesses told deputies Merkey was the aggressor and that he arrived at the Tiki Bar, went to the kitchen and attacked the victim. Merkey struck him “multiple times with his left and right hands and bit him twice,” and the victim had “fresh markings on his body with teeth imprints consistent with being bit.” The kitchen was “disheveled” with “large amounts of food thrown about the area as well as pots, pans, plates, etc., knocked over.”
Merkey then left in his truck but not before striking a tiki stand, damaging the fence behind it; and striking a storage trailer containing the restaurant’s liquor supply. “Inside the trailer, multiple shelves containing full, unopened bottles of various liquors were knocked to the floor, causing the bottles to break.”
When taken into custody, Merkey “failed to comply [with] multiple verbal orders” to get in the back seat of a patrol car and “used his body as dead weight,” requiring deputies to lift him into the car. Once in the car, he “began kicking the roof of the patrol car as well as the plexiglass partition.”
Merkey has served two previous stints in prison for battery, criminal mischief, carjacking and aggravated assault.