Arrest made in 2023 Bonifay hotel murder

HOLMES COUNTY, Fla (WDHN) — A woman has been arrested and charged with a 2023 Bonifay murder after investigators say her story of an accidental shooting turned out to be a lie.

According to the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office, on Thursday, February 7, U.S. Marshals arrested Lois Merkel at her home in Callaway, Florida, and charged her with the May 2023 death of 45-year-old Steven Hall.

Sheriff John Tate says Hall was shot once in the leg at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Bonifay and was transported to the Doctors Memorial Hospital, where he later died from his injuries.

Merkel has been a suspect in Hall’s death since the very beginning.

Sheriff Tate told WDHN in 2023 that Merkel was the one who called 911 after Hall was shot, and she told deputies she accidentally shot him when a pistol that she was removing from the hotel room’s safe discharged.

A release from the HCSO says that after a lengthy investigation, deputies determined Merkel’s story that she accidentally shot Hall was a lie, and a warrant for her arrest was issued.

After Marshals arrested Merkel, she was booked into the Bay County Jail, where she awaits extradition to Holmes County to face one count of murder in the second degree.

No additional information on the murder has been released.

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