East St. Louis notable Merritts dead at 92

Published March 12, 2010

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A former East St. Louis school board president who once tried to have a political opponent killed has died.

Charles Merritts Sr. was 92 when he died earlier this month at a Belleville hospital.

Merritts owned a taxi business, an insurance company, liquor stores and two popular nightclubs in East St. Louis. He also served as a local Democratic precinct committeeman and a sheriff's deputy.

Merritts once was sentenced to five years in federal prison after admitting he tried to arrange the killing of a school board member and newspaper publisher who was one of his critics. The plot unraveled when Merritts and a middleman tried to hire an undercover FBI agent as hitman.

Written by <P>By the Associated Press</P>

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