Murder suspect dies after being found in Euless motel

11/30/2013 6:40 AM

11/30/2013 2:34 PM

A McKinney man who had fled probation officers in downtown Fort Worth died Saturday morning, hours after being found in a Euless motel.

David Matthew Merrill, 36, was found by Euless police at a motel after a three-day manhunt. He had been shot and was critically wounded, sheriff’s spokesman Terry Grisham said in a statement issued early Saturday. Media reports and an employee of the 183 Motel said the gunshot wound in Merrill’s head was self-inflicted.

Merrill died early Saturday in intensive care at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.

Jay Patel, who said his parents own the motel on Euless Boulevard, or Texas 10, said they did not know who Merrill was.

“He’s not the one who checked in; someone else checked in for him,” said Patel, who lives and works at the motel when not attending classes at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Patel declined to identify the person who rented the room, saying only that she was a woman.

“We don’t know how long he was staying here,” Patel said.

He said a male friend of Merrill’s showed up at the motel after noon Friday, and before 12:30 p.m. a gunshot was heard from inside Room 104. A hotel worker opened the door, Patel said, and Merrill was lying on the bed in the modest room, which has a TV, microwave and refrigerator.

“That’s when his friend called the cops,” Patel said.

Manhunt started Wednesday

Several agencies helped search for Merrill, a murder suspect who ran from a probation office in the 200 block of West Belknap Street shortly after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday after his bond was revoked, a sheriff’s official said.

Merrill was charged with murder in the 2012 shooting death of his father-in-law, popular local singer Rudy Mata of Kennedale.

Merrill had tested positive for methamphetamine, according to Tarrant County criminal court records, in violation of the terms of his bond.

After he was taken into custody Friday afternoon, Merrill was taken to JPS, where he was identified through a fingerprint match, Grisham said.

Merrill is accused of killing Mata, 56, in September 2012. Mata had performed with The Cavaliers Studio Group and most recently with The Hi Roller Band. He was named the Grapevine Opera’s Entertainer of the Year in 1997.

Mata was shot in the 2500 block of Lynwood Drive.

Mata joined The Cavaliers in 2006. The band began in 1956 in San Angelo. One of the founding members, Sid Holmes of Fort Worth, said Mata was a natural for the group, which had a strong rockabilly base and later mixed in country rock.

“I can’t believe someone could get that upset with Rudy,” bandmate Neil Scheckels of East Mountain in East Texas said in a phone interview in September 2012. “I never heard him say a bad word about anyone.”

Staff writers Diane Smith, Deanna Boyd and Nick Dean contributed to this report, which includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

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