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Mother speaks out after 23-year-old man accused of murdering father of her children

The arrest of Mervin Flaherty, 23, stems from a January 2 incident where the victim was found shot at Ciel Apartments on Jacksonville's southside.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A woman is speaking out after a man was charged with murder in relation to a January shooting on the Southside that killed the father of her children.

On Jan. 2, 2022, patrol officers were dispatched to the area of Deer Lake Drive West and Southside Boulevard in reference to a vehicle crash, according to a news release from The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

While on scene, officers were notified by the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department the victim appeared to be suffering from a gunshot wound.

Police say the victim was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The Homicide and Crime Scene Units were notified and responded to conduct their respective investigations. 

Through their investigative efforts, the suspect Mervin Flaherty, 23, was identified. As a result, an arrest warrant was obtained and Flaherty has been arrested for second degree murder.

The shooting victim has been identified as 31 year-old Mark Ott.  His fiancé spoke to First Coast News after Flaherty's arrest and said of Ott, "He was the most devoted father. He was a hard worker. He worked very hard to provide for his family. He was a loving son. He was a great brother."

She wants to conceal her identity, but said she reconnected with Ott after high school, and they had been together for seven years, sharing a 22-month-old daughter and a four-year-old son. 

"He doesn't get to grow up to be a father to his children. Everything has been taken from us," she said.

The two were planning to get married, his fiancé said. 

She says Ott didn't know Flaherty and there was no altercation before the shooting.

In addition to second degree murder, Flaherty is charged with assault and burglary.

Another man, Corey Simms Jr., was arrested shortly after the shooting and has been charged with accessory after the fact.  

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