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LiteSpeed Technologies is not responsible for administration and contents of this web site! Death Penalty Trial Underway for Charles Merritt in 2010 CA Quadruple Murder - Page 3
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Thread: Death Penalty Trial Underway for Charles Merritt in 2010 CA Quadruple Murder

  1. #21
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Defense attorney claims another business associate of Joseph McStay’s was complicit in family’s killings

    A judge, however, limited what can be presented about him during upcoming trial

    By JOE NELSON
    The San Bernardino County Sun

    A San Bernardino Superior Court judge presiding over the trial of McStay family murder suspect Charles “Chase” Merritt ruled Thursday that certain evidence pointing to another suspect cannot be presented to the jury.

    In a motion filed with the court, one of Merritt’s attorneys argued that a business associate of victim Joseph McStay, Daniel Kavanaugh, threatened McStay and his family in an online exchange in January 2009 after their relationship soured. Additionally, the attorney said, Kavanaugh told another man in November 2013 that he “knows how to make people disappear” and that they will “find his bones in the desert.”

    Kavanaugh’s comment in 2013 occurred 10 days after the skeletal remains of two adults and two children were discovered buried in two shallow graves in the Mojave Desert, north of Victorville and west of Interstate 15. The remains were later identified as those of Fallbrook residents McStay, 40, his wife, Summer, 43, and their two sons, Gianni, 4, and Joseph, 3.

    The family had been beaten to death with a three-pound sledgehammer found in one of the graves, and sheriff’s investigators believe Summer McStay may have been raped before she was killed.

    Merritt, 61, of Homeland had long been a person of interest in the disappearance of the McStay family. The family was last seen on Feb. 4, 2010. Merritt, in fact, was one of the last people to see Joseph McStay alive. The two had met at a Chik-fil-A restaurant in Rancho Cucamonga to discuss business.

    About a year after the discovery of the McStay family’s remains, San Bernardino County sheriff’s detectives arrested Merritt as a suspect in the killings. He faces the death penalty. Jury selection in his trial is now underway, and opening statements are scheduled to begin Jan. 7.

    Joseph McStay operated an online custom water fountain business, Earth Inspired Products, and Kavanaugh designed the website for the business and did search engine optimization.

    Threats in message exchange

    According to the motion filed by attorney James McGee, an online instant message exchange between the two men revealed McStay had offered to buy Kavanaugh out of the business. Kavanaugh was not pleased, threatening to destroy McStay’s business if his demands weren’t met. The message chain was saved to McStay’s computer on Jan. 29, 2009.

    “The later you respond and deal with this, the worse it’s gonne be,” Kavanaugh told McStay in his online message. McStay responded: “Now, I, Summer & Kids know the ‘Real You’ and what you would potentially do to harm me and my family … Your (sic) a great guy Dan . . . FK’n Sad.”

    The exchanges intensified, with Kavanaugh saying, “So now that you know how serious I am, and what I’m capable of … you can make a better decision how to end this.”

    On Nov. 23, 2013, soon after the McStay family’s remains were discovered, Kavanaugh got into a heated exchange with another man he was doing business with in San Diego County. Kavanaugh, according to McGee’s motion, agreed to design a website for the man’s business in exchange for him building an aquarium for Kavanaugh.

    But Kavanaugh, according to the motion, never got the aquarium, so he went to the man’s business and told him he had been “done dirty” and that he “knows how to make people disappear, and if anything happens again, they will find (the man’s) bones in the desert.”

    The man reported the threats to his neighbor, a San Diego County sheriff’s deputy, and a police report was filed.

    “Here, Daniel Kavanaugh recited specific facts which described the nature of this crime, and the manner in which the McStay family was killed and buried,” McGee wrote in his motion.

    Prosecutors: Evidence based on innuendo

    Prosecutors argued that the evidence “serves merely to confuse and convolute” and was based on “speculation and innuendo.” Furthermore, the prosecution argued that much of the defense’s evidence on Kavanaugh post-dates the commission of the crimes by years.

    Kavanaugh could not be reached for comment.

    Judge Michael A. Smith sided with the prosecution, concluding the evidence was speculative. Smith, however, did allow the defense to introduce DNA found at the McStay grave sites, on Summer McStay’s bra and other items in the two graves, that did not match that of Merritt or the four victims. That DNA has so far not been matched to Kavanaugh or any other person of interest in the case.

    Merritt’s defense team also will be allowed to present evidence showing that Kavanaugh transferred nearly $13,000 from Joseph McStay’s PayPal account to his personal PayPal account within three weeks of the McStays’ disappearance. Some of that money was sent to Merritt to purchase materials to complete existing orders for McStay’s business. Merritt had designed and built the fountains for Earth Inspired Products.

    Prosecutor Melissa Rodriguez argued that there was no evidence to link Kavanaugh to the killings, that he was in Hawaii at the time of the family’s disappearance, and that he had called police on Feb. 10, 2010, asking for a welfare check on the McStay family.

    Regardless of the evidence presented by the defense, it does not rule out Merritt as a viable suspect in the case. “It doesn’t exculpate the defendant,” prosecutor Sean Daugherty said.

    Traces of Merritt’s DNA were found in the McStay family graves and in the McStay’s Isuzu Trooper found abandoned at the Mexican border. Merritt also wrote multiple checks on Joseph McStay’s Quickbooks account totaling more than $21,000 following the family’s disappearance, then went on a gambling spree, authorities said.

    Cameras allowed for trial

    Also on Thursday, Smith was asked by the prosecution to limit TV and still cameras in the courtroom during trial. While not seeking to ban the media from trial coverage, prosecutors noted the heavy publicity the case has received and the possibility cameras could be too disruptive and have a “prejudicial impact” on the trial.

    Smith denied the motion, saying press photography and video coverage during trial could be done in a way that wouldn’t interfere with the proceedings. He said a “pooling” arrangement, in which one designated videographer and still photographer share their footage and photos with other members of the news media, may be in order.

    https://www.sbsun.com/2018/11/29/def...ilys-killings/
    Killers are predators in our society , to prevent more crime ,the death penalty is necessary and must go forward on this path.

  2. #22
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Jury picked for McStay family murder case

    Charles “Chase” Merritt is accused of bludgeoning 4 to death in 2010, then burying their bodies in the desert north of Victorville. Opening statements in trial are set for Jan. 7.

    A jury has been picked to hear the death-penalty case of Charles “Chase” Merritt, charged with the 2010 bludgeoning deaths of four members of a Fallbrook family whose remains were found in two shallow graves in the Mojave Desert.

    Merritt defense attorney Rajan Maline said Thursday that 12 jurors and six alternates were finalized on Tuesday.

    The testimony phase of the trial, which can include opening statements, is scheduled for Jan. 7. The panel includes eight women and four men, while the alternates include four men and two women, Maline said.

    Merritt, 61, of Homeland in Riverside County, has pleaded not guilty to the charges that he killed former business associate Joseph McStay, 40, his wife, Summer, 43, and their two children, Gianni, 4, and Joseph Jr., 3, in their San Diego County home on Feb. 4, 2010.

    Investigators said he buried their bodies more than 100 miles away, in the Mojave Desert, north of Victorville and west of the 15 Freeway.

    Hearings in the case are set for today and Wednesday.

    Today’s hearing regards witnesses, and Merritt, who is in custody, has waived his presence for that. The Wednesday hearing will focus on evidence and details about possible jury visits to the both the desert grave sites and the McStay family home in Fallbrook, Maline said.

    The bodies were found in November 2013 and Merritt was arrested and charged a year later.

    Prosecutors and sheriff’s investigators say Merritt, who crafted custom water fountains for Joseph McStay’s online business Earth Inspired Products, was heavily in debt and had a gambling problem. He killed the McStay family for financial gain, they said.

    Defense attorneys have pointed to another business associate of McStay as a possible suspect in the case.

    https://www.vvdailypress.com/news/20...ly-murder-case
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  3. #23
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Defense in McStay family murder trial says DNA swab taken from defendant’s brother

    By Richard K. De Atley
    The San Bernardino County Sun

    Opening statements are set for Monday, Jan. 7, in the death penalty trial of Charles “Chase” Merritt, accused in the 2010 slaying of the McStay family, and one more pretrial hearing Friday, Jan. 4, may decide whether to unseal a search warrant declaration used to collect DNA from Merritt’s brother.

    A motion filed by defense attorneys said the DNA swab was taken from Bennett Merritt on Dec. 20, after jurors for the trial had been selected.

    Defense attorneys want to know why, and suggest in court documents that prosecutors are turning their attention to Bennett Merritt as “somehow complicit in the McStay murders,” and were pushed by independent defense DNA investigations in the case.

    “We want to see what the detective wrote to a judge,” defense attorney Rajan Maline said in a brief phone interview. He said any named source in the warrant declaration can be redacted, “but what did they say in the affidavit? We’re dying to see it.”

    The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s response to the defense motion was not available Thursday afternoon through the court clerk’s electronic system, nor through the court. The DA’s Office declined to comment.

    The hearing will be on the last possible court day before opening statements.

    Merritt’s attorneys have previously told the court they have conducted their own DNA investigation of evidence from the desert grave site where the four members of the McStay family were found buried three years after their slaying.

    That evidence did not match the DNA of their client or the four victims, but also it did not identify anyone of interest in the case, defense attorneys have said.

    Merritt, 61, of Homeland in Riverside County, has pleaded not guilty to the charges that he killed former business associate Joseph McStay, 40, his wife, Summer, 43, and their two children, Gianni, 4, and Joseph Jr., 3, in their San Diego County home on Feb. 4, 2010.

    Investigators said he buried their bodies more than 100 miles away, in the Mojave Desert, north of Victorville and west of the 15 Freeway.

    Sheriff’s investigators believe Summer McStay was raped before she was killed, defense attorneys have said.

    The bodies were found in November 2013 and Merritt was arrested and charged a year later.

    Prosecutors and sheriff’s investigators say Merritt, who crafted custom water fountains for Joseph McStay’s online business Earth Inspired Products, was heavily in debt and had a gambling problem. He killed the McStay family for financial gain, they said.

    Defense attorneys are pointing to a business associate of Joseph McStay, Daniel Kavanaugh, as another possible suspect.

    Trial is expected to last into April.

    https://www.sbsun.com/2019/01/03/def...dants-brother/
    Killers are predators in our society , to prevent more crime ,the death penalty is necessary and must go forward on this path.

  4. #24
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    California man on trial for alleged murder of family of 4

    Associated Press
    Washington Post

    SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — For years, the disappearance of the McStay family from their San Diego County home puzzled investigators, with no signs of forced entry and the couple’s credit cards untouched.

    After their remains were found years later in a remote desert location more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) away, authorities charged a Southern California man with the killings, alleging he bludgeoned his business partner, partner’s wife and two young sons with a sledgehammer before burying them.

    Now, 61-year-old Charles “Chase” Merritt is facing trial in the murder of Joseph McStay, McStay’s wife Summer, and their 3- and 4-year-old boys. Opening statements are expected Monday in San Bernardino County, where the family’s remains were found.

    Merritt, who was a business associate of McStay, has pleaded not guilty. Merritt could face the death penalty if convicted

    Authorities have said Merritt’s cellphone was traced to the remote gravesites and to a call days later seeking to close out his then-missing business partner’s online bookkeeping account.

    They also have said Merritt’s DNA was discovered on the steering wheel and gearshift of McStay’s SUV, which was impounded near the Mexican border a few days after the family vanished.

    Defense attorney James McGee said that DNA could have been transferred to the vehicle by McStay after he met with Merritt shortly before the family vanished. McGee also said none of Merritt’s DNA was found at the gravesites but DNA belonging to other unidentified individuals had turned up there.

    “From the evidence the government is going to present, our argument is going to be: You had the wrong guy,” McGee said.

    Britt Imes, supervising deputy district attorney for San Bernardino County, said he could not comment on ongoing cases.

    The McStay family disappeared from their home in Fallbrook, which is about 50 miles (80 km) north of San Diego, in 2010. Their remains were found in San Bernardino County in 2013 along with a 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) sledgehammer and a child’s pants and diaper. Authorities have said all four victims were believed to have been killed by blunt force trauma to the head.

    Investigators have said they spoke with Merritt shortly after the family went missing and noticed he referred to them in the past tense. They also have said a customer service representative told them he received a call about McStay’s QuickBooks account, which he used to pay vendors connected to his water features business, after he vanished.

    The call, according to authorities, was placed from Merritt’s cellphone.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...=.5b4785b03b5c
    Killers are predators in our society , to prevent more crime ,the death penalty is necessary and must go forward on this path.

  5. #25
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Business partner faces death penalty in murder of Fallbrook family of 4

    BY JAIME CHAMBERS
    fox5sandiego.com

    SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- A man accused of killing his business partner, his wife and two children in Fallbrook more than eight years ago murdered the family so he could steal their money, prosecutors argued Monday.

    Chase Merritt, 61, is charged with four counts of murder. His trial began Monday in San Bernardino Superior Court.

    Merritt’s business partner, Joseph McStay disappeared from his home in Fallbrook in 2010 along with his wife and two young sons. Their whereabouts remained a mystery until 2013 when a motor-cross rider came across their remains in shallow graves in the desert in Victor Valley in San Bernardino County.

    In opening statements, prosecutors said Merritt killed the family for financial gain, hacking McStays' Quickbooks account and writing three checks totaling around $15,000 for himself. According to search warrants filed in the case, Merritt also owed McStay $30,000, which he had borrowed to pay a gambling debt.

    “He mislead investigators. He talked in circles and he played the victim,” said San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Sean Dougherty.

    Prosecutors allege Merritt beat the four members of the McStay family to death with a sledgehammer and then hid their bodies in the high desert. They said they will present cell phone evidence during the trial that places Merritt at the location in the desert where the bodies were buried.

    “Between 10:46 and 1:30 p.m., the defendant's cellphone contacted towers in Victor Valley,” said Dougherty

    But Merritt's defense attorneys said that the investigation was botched from the start and that Merritt would never have hurt his business partner, a man he called his best friend.

    “{Investigators] treated this as a missing persons case. They didn’t grill anybody. They didn’t execute the search warrants on time and opportunities floated away." Merritt's attorney, Rajan Maline, said.

    If convicted on all counts Merritt is facing the death penalty.

    https://fox5sandiego.com/2019/01/07/...k-family-of-4/
    Killers are predators in our society , to prevent more crime ,the death penalty is necessary and must go forward on this path.

  6. #26
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    McStay Murder Trial: Mother of Joseph McStay first witness to take the stand

    By David Gotfredson
    CBS 8 San Diego

    SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (NEWS 8) - The mother of Joseph McStay was the first witness to take the stand Tuesday in a San Bernardino murder trial where a business associate is accused of murdering the McStay family of four inside their Fallbrook home.

    Susan Blake told the jury she gave the defendant, Charles "Chase" Merritt, thousands of dollars after the McStay family went missing in February 2010, because Merritt told her he needed the money to keep the McStay's fountain business running.

    At the time, Blake had no idea what had happened to the missing family. Three years later, an off-road motorcyclist discovered the family's bones in the high desert near Victorville.

    Blake testified that when her other son, Mikey, told her the family's bodies had be found in 2013, she became emotional and fell to the ground.

    Six months later, she visited the grave site and fell to her knees. It was shocking to see the four crosses planted in the ground and she said she would never go back to that place again.

    Merritt, 61, is facing the death penalty if convicted of using a sledgehammer to murder Joseph McStay, his wife, Summer and the couple's 3- and 4-year-old sons.

    Prosecutors allege a financial motive for the murders. In opening statements Monday, January 7 prosecutors said greed, debt and a gambling problem led Merritt to kill the McStay family.

    A prosecutor said Merritt wrote checks for more than $21,000 on his partner's QuickBooks account after the family vanished in 2010. But the defense said they have the wrong man, and suggested the killer was another business partner.

    http://www.cbs8.com/story/39753512/m...take-the-stand
    Killers are predators in our society , to prevent more crime ,the death penalty is necessary and must go forward on this path.

  7. #27
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Live streaming available in McStay family murder trial of Charles Merritt

    The death-penalty case of Charles "Chase" Merritt, who is charged with killing four members of a Fallbrook family in 2010 has begun in San Bernardino Superior Court and for those wishing to follow the case, there are a couple of options available online.

    To watch the trial as it happens on LawandCrime.com, visit:

    https://lawandcrime.com/live-trials/...-and-children/

    To watch recorded portions of the trial, visit:

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz8...N5EZw/featured


    https://www.myvalleynews.com/story/2...itt/64132.html
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  8. #28
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Brother Breaks Down, Testifies as McStay Family Murder Trial Reaches Third Day

    By Andrew Johnson
    NBC 7 San Diego

    The brother of a Fallbrook man who was reportedly killed alongside his wife and two young children broke down in court Wednesday testifying against the suspect in the murders.

    Mike McStay spent the entire day on the stand talking about his brother Joseph and his accused murderer Chase Merritt.

    Merritt is charged with killing Joseph; McStay's wife, Summer; and their 3- and 4-year-old sons. The family's disappearance in 2010 perplexed investigators for years, with no signs of forced entry at their Fallbrook home.

    But at first, the family’s disappearance was of little concern to Mike, he told the jury. He thought they may have taken a short trip somewhere.

    During this time, Mike said he spoke with Merritt over the phone. He said Merritt was also looking for Joseph.

    The defense questioned Mike about specific dates and times he was in contact with Merritt and told the jury there was no evidence linking Merritt to the deaths.

    Merritt was staying at Joseph and Summer’s house, looking after their dogs, according to Mike.

    After two weeks went by, Mike said he went to sheriff’s investigators, worried about his family.

    Investigators quickly discovered the family’s SUV, which had been towed from a parking lot in San Ysidro.

    Surveillance footage in the area showed who officials believed to be the McStays walking into Mexico. But Mike said he knew right away that it wasn’t them.

    “Summer would never take the boys to Mexico,” Mike said in court. “She was too, she had commented about this, so, my brother and I had surfed there years ago, and this is not as safe as it used to be.”

    Three years after the McStays disappearance, their bodies were found more than 100 miles away in a remote area of San Bernardino County, along with a 3-pound sledgehammer and a child's pants and diaper.

    Supervising deputy district attorney for San Bernardino County accused Merritt of "desperately [trying] to cover his tracks after the murders.”

    Prosecutors also accused Merritt of stealing thousands of dollars from Joseph’s custom fountain business by hacking his electronic bank account.

    Merritt pleaded not guilty to the charges.

    If convicted, Merritt could face the death penalty.

    https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/loc...504140441.html
    Killers are predators in our society , to prevent more crime ,the death penalty is necessary and must go forward on this path.

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