California man on trial for alleged murder of family of 4
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — Opening statements are expected in the trial of a Southern California man charged with bludgeoning to death a family of four and burying them in the desert.
Lawyers are scheduled to make statements Monday in the trial of 61-year-old Charles “Chase” Merritt for the murders of Joseph McStay, McStay’s wife Summer and their 3- and 4-year-old sons.
The family disappeared from their San Diego County home in 2010. Three years later, their bodies were found in a remote desert location more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) away.
Merritt, who was a business associate of McStay, was arrested the following year. He has pleaded not guilty.
Authorities have said Merritt’s cellphone could be traced to the remote gravesites and to a call days later seeking to close McStay’s online bookkeeping account.