How Did Merlin Santana Die? Who Killed Merlin Santana?

Yesterday was The Cosby Show actor Merlin Santana’s 15th death anniversary. It has been a long time since his death, but the late actor remains in everybody’s hearts. How did Merlin Santana die? And who killed Merlin Santana? Keep reading, as we have all the info for you right here.

Celebrities tend to be extra careful when it comes to their safety. From concerns about upset fans, to threats from rivals, many stars feel the need to be secure.While some prefer to appoint bodyguards, others do not. Unfortunately, Merlin Santana was among those who preferred to look after himself.

Merlin Santana was born on March 14, 1976 in New York City. His career in the industry started because of his parents’ encouragement. At the age of three, he was an advertising model for a fast food chain. His debut film appearance was in Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo.

Santana’s break was in 1991, when he landed a role on The Cosby Show. He playedStanley, Rudy Huxtable’s boyfriend. Later, he played Marcus Dixon in the sitcom, Getting By. In 1996, Santana played Romeo Santana on The Steve Harvey Show. Besides this, he appeared in several other TV shows like Sister, Sister, Under One Roof, and Half & Half. His last movie was the 2003 comedy, The Blues.


Unfortunately, his career was short-lived, as he was murdered. If you want to know more about Merlin Santana’s death and what happened to Merlin Santana, then keep reading.

Who Killed Merlin Santana?

On the evening of November 9, 2002, Santana and his friend, former child actor Brandon Quintin Adams, hopped in a car and were about to leave a house in the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles. Damien Andre Gates fired his gun, and the bullet penetrated the front passenger seat, where Santana sat, through the trunk of the car. Santana was shot in the head and died immediately.

According to a police officer, a 15-year-old girl named Monique King, who was reportedly Gates’ girlfriend at the time, falsely claimed that Santana made sexual advances towards her. This spurred Gates and his friend, Brandon Douglas Bynes to attack Santana.

Gates was charged and convicted of first-degree murder, and the attempted murder of Adams. Gates got three consecutive life sentences plus 70 years in prison.

His accomplice, Bynes, received a 23-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon, and voluntary manslaughter, though none of the shots fired from Bynes’ gun entered the car.

King was found guilty of second-degree murder and attempted murder. However, she was acquitted of two murder charges and received 10 years in juvenile custody.

Deputy District Attorney Greg Dohi said, “This case was tragic all around… Merlin Santana was a very gifted actor and his murder was utterly senseless. Monique King has had a miserable childhood and this verdict punishes her fairly and gives her a chance to turn her life around.”

At the time of his death, Merlin Santana was only 26 years old. On November 18, 2002, he was buried at Saint Raymond’s Cemetery in The Bronx, New York.