Cousins who stabbed man to death with pen sentenced

Both men charged as adults; 1 underage at time of murder


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Two cousins convicted of second-degree murder in the killing of a homeless man were sentenced in Broward Circuit Court Wednesday.

Juan Merlin, who was 18 years old at the time of the killing, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Jose Xolo, who was 15 at the time, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

A judge denied a request for the cousins to be charged as youthful offenders.

According to the arrest affidavit, Merlin and Xolo met with 32-year-old Gregory Hypollite around 2 a.m. Dec. 12, 2012. They agreed to give him $40 if he introduced them to a female prostitute. But the woman refused to have sex with the teenagers because they only had $10 between them.

Police said Hypollite still wanted to be paid for introducing them, and Xolo went home to get cash. He instead returned with an HP laptop and offered that as payment. Hypollite apparently refused to take the laptop, and an argument began.

The three then began fighting, and Xolo told police he had Hypollite in a choke hold while Merlin stabbed him with a pen and hit him with a broken glass bottle.

Hypollite's body was found behind the Advanced Auto Parts store at 126 N. Federal Highway later that day.


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