Deadly Rampage, Shanda Merritt and Raymond Austin

Charles "Chuck" Soukup

In season two, Deadly Rampage is about the murder of Carl Davis by Shanda Merritt in the state of Florida. The love story of Raymond Austin and Shanda Merritt does not end well for Carl Davis or Charles "Chuck" Soukup. Shanda had dated Carl Davis who she attempted to killed with Austin.  She was charged with first-degree attempted murder and aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer. Austin and Merritt went on to kidnap and kill Soukup from the airport.

Shanda Merritt was sentenced to Life and is ineligible for release. Raymond Austin was sentenced to over 150 years in prison.

This episode is described as a modern day Bonnie and Clyde with a penchant for criminal behavior leaves a man for dead and another in critical condition.

His appeal, (see link) includes:

Early one morning, Mr. Soukup was dropped off at the Jacksonville Airport by his son-in-law to catch an outgoing flight to see his daughter. His son-in-law watched him enter the airport, and none of his family ever saw or heard from him again.

Records indicate that a few hours after Mr. Soukup arrived at the airport, he rented a silver Jeep Patriot at the airport rental counter, without a reservation. Meanwhile, Shanda Merritt, the mother of Austin's girlfriend, had been driven to the airport for the purpose of renting a car. Merritt was accompanied by a driver and three male teenagers, including Austin. Merritt directed them not to leave until she got a rental car. When she returned to the group about thirty minutes later, she was driving a silver Jeep with Mr. Soukup in the front passenger seat. Merritt's three companions got in the back seat, with Austin sitting directly behind Mr. Soukup, and Merritt drove away.

As they were driving, Merritt placed her hand on her neck, signaling to Austin to choke Mr. Soukup. Austin complied. He first used his shirt and then his arm to choke the elderly man. Mr. Soukup tried to fight off the attack, but he was “gagging,” and bleeding from the mouth. The other two boys took his money and cell phone. Eventually, Merritt stopped at a cell phone tower in a wooded area. Austin dragged Mr. Soukup, still alive, by the ankles to an area behind a fence surrounding the cell phone tower. Then he shot Mr. Soukup once in the center of his forehead at close range.

Merritt and the boys drove off, leaving Mr. Soukup's body in the woods. Later that day, Austin's girlfriend joined her mother and Austin on a trip to Family Dollar, where they bought sponges, bleach, and gloves, and proceeded to clean the inside of the car. Austin sold the gun the next day.

Meet Local Singles

You can write to Shanda Merritt at:

Shanda Merritt
Shanda Merritt X06378
Lowell Correctional Institution Annex
11120 NW Gainesville Rd
Ocala, Florida 34482-1479

You can email Shanda using Jpay - you will need to select Florida and the ID X06378

Raymond Austin
You can write to Raymond Austin at:

Raymond Austin J47682
Okaloosa Correctional Institution
3189 Colonel Greg Malloy Road
Crestview, Florida 32539-6708

You can email Raymond using Jpay - you will need to select Florida and the ID J47682

Take Away

While Carl Davis is dead, and Shanda Merritt is serving Life, there are lessons here for anyone willing to it a thought. If you are not willing to do prison time for your own actions, do not do it for someone else by participating in their crimes. Want more for yourself then that.

Can't get enough true crime? Consider US Serial Killers for your viewing needs.

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