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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:38 am 
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Businessman 'killed the McStay family with a sledgehammer and then buried them in a desert grave', prosecutors will claim

  • Charles 'Chase' Merritt, 58, has been accused of murdering his business partner, Joseph McStay, the man's wife and their two young sons
  • Merritt has pleaded not guilty to quadruple murder. A judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to hold a trial
  • The McStay family vanished in February 2010 and their remains were found in November 2013 about 100 miles away near Victorville
  • Authorities have not released details of the deaths of McStay, 40; his wife, Summer, 43; and their sons, 4-year-old Gianni and 3-year-old Joseph Jr
  • Prosecutors plan to argue Merritt killed the family because he had written checks to himself on the business account and McStay had found out and planned to cut ties, defense attorney Jimmy Mettias says
  • Mettias says prosecutors likely will say the murder weapon was a 3-pound sledgehammer that was found in one of the graves

By Associated Press
Published: 02:55 GMT, 11 June 2015 | Updated: 13:14 GMT, 11 June 2015

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Prosecutors are expected to claim a Southern California man used a sledgehammer to kill a family of four whose bodies were found years later in shallow desert graves, but there isn't a shred of physical evidence tying him to the crime scenes, a defense attorney said.

Charles 'Chase' Merritt, 58, has a scheduled preliminary hearing Monday on charges that he murdered his business partner, Joseph McStay, the man's wife and their two young sons in their Fallbrook home in northern San Diego County.

Merritt has pleaded not guilty to quadruple murder. A judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to hold a trial.

Image

The McStay family vanished in February 2010 and their remains were found in November 2013 about 100 miles away near Victorville in neighboring San Bernardino County. Merritt was arrested last November.

Authorities have not released details of the deaths of McStay, 40; his wife, Summer, 43; and their sons, 4-year-old Gianni and 3-year-old Joseph Jr.

The family's disappearance initially puzzled investigators who said there were no signs of forced entry at the home, nothing was missing, and the couple's credit cards and tens of thousands of dollars in bank accounts were untouched.

Prosecutors probably plan to argue that Merritt, who had a water fountain business with McStay, killed the family because he had written checks to himself on the business account and McStay had found out and planned to cut ties, defense attorney Jimmy Mettias told KCBS-TV.

...more at link
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... eapon.html

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:25 pm 
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Man to face trial in slayings of McStay family

CBSNews.com
June 16, 2015


SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - A California man authorities say was linked through cellphone records to the shallow desert graves where the remains of his business associate and the associate's wife and two sons were found has been ordered to stand trial in the family's slayings.

During a preliminary hearing Monday, investigators testified that Charles "Chase" Merritt's cellphone could be placed near the remote gravesites some 100 miles from the family's San Diego County home and also to a call a few days later to try to transfer and close out his then-missing business associate's online bookkeeping account.

But questions remain about what prosecutors believe happened the day Joseph McStay and his family vanished from their two-story home in Fallbrook in February 2010. Or how Merritt's attorneys, who called no witnesses at Monday's hearing, plans to defend him at trial.
The 58-year-old Merritt has pleaded not guilty. His attorneys say they hope for a speedy trial to resolve the case. Prosecutors have not said whether they will pursue the death penalty.

San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith ordered Merritt to face trial following Monday's hearing. He said a key piece of evidence influencing his decision was the discovery of the defendant's DNA on the steering wheel and gearshift of McStay's Isuzu trooper, which was impounded near the Mexican border a few days after the family disappeared.

[...]
More than three years after the family disappeared, the remains of McStay, 40; his wife, Summer, 43; 4-year-old son Gianni and 3-year-old Joseph Jr. were found in the San Bernardino County gravesites. Also recovered were a rusty, three-pound sledgehammer and a child's pants and diaper.

The elder McStay's remains had an electric cord tied around the neck and was wrapped in a woven blanket.

All four were found to have been killed by blunt force trauma to the head, with Gianni suffering at least seven blows, San Bernardino County sheriff's Detective Edward Bachman testified.

Detectives questioned Merritt two days after a missing persons report was filed, and it was then that it was noticed he referred to the family in the past tense.

More at link: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/man-to-face-trial-in-slayings-of-mcstay-family/


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:26 pm 
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DA to seek death penalty in McStay family murders

FOX5Sandiego.com
JUNE 29, 2015


SAN DIEGO – The San Bernardino County District Attorney decided Monday to seek the death penalty against a man accused of murdering four members of the McStay family.

A trial has been set for Charles “Chase” Merritt, 57, in August. He pleaded not guilty to charges in the murders of his 40-year-old business associate Joseph McStay, wife and their two children.

The McStay family disappeared from their home in 2010 and their remains were found buried in shallow desert graves in the Mojave Desert in 2013.

Merritt initially did not seek an attorney claiming he did not have the money to hire one. He also claimed he had congestive heart failure and only had 6 months to live. In early June, Merritt ended up hiring Jimmy Mettias.

More at link: http://fox5sandiego.com/2015/06/29/da-to-seek-death-penalty-in-mcstay-family-murders/


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:31 pm 
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Attorney will tweet defense in McStay case

The San Diego Union-Tribune
By Teri Figueroa | July 31, 2015


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The attorney representing the man accused of killing the McStay family of Fallbrook is taking his defense case to Twitter, laying out arguments in the court of public opinion before the case goes to trial.

Charles “Chase” Merritt is accused of beating to death his business associate Joseph McStay, 40, and McStay’s wife and two young sons in their home.

Thus far, the public has only heard the prosecution’s side of the case, primarily through search warrant affidavits and testimony from sheriff’s investigators at Merritt’s preliminary hearing in June.

Merritt’s attorneys have not publicly countered the evidence — which includes financial anomalies that suggest Merritt dipped into McStay’s business accounts.

That silence may change. One of Merritt’s defense attorneys, Jimmy Mettias (@jmettias), took to Twitter on Thursday and again on Friday, using the hashtag #McStay, as have reporters covering the case.

More at link:http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/jul/31/mcstay-chase-merritt-defense-attorney-twitter/


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:33 pm 
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Prosecutors respond to defense dismissal motion in McStay family slayings

SBSUN.com
By Joe Nelson, August 5, 2015


San Bernardino County prosecutors have responded to a motion requesting dismissal of the criminal charges against McStay family murder suspect Charles “Chase” Merritt, saying the grounds for the request are erroneous.

Merritt’s attorney, Jimmy Mettias, filed a demurrer in San Bernardino Superior Court on July 17 requesting the charges against Merritt be dismissed because prosecutors are alleging the crimes occurred both in San Diego and San Bernardino counties.

Prosecutors believe the McStay family was killed in their Fallbrook home, in San Diego County, and their bodies buried in the Mojave Desert near Victorville. The family’s skeletal remains were discovered in November 2013 by a man riding his motorcycle in the area north of Stoddard Wells Road and west of the 15 Freeway.

Jurisdiction can be anywhere involving a criminal act, whether it is where a “fatal injury was inflicted or in the county in which the injured party died or in the county in which his or her body was found.”

“In this case the uncontroverted evidence derived at the preliminary hearing was that the remains of the four victims were located in San Bernardino County,” Supervising Deputy District Attorney Britt Imes said in his motion, filed in San Bernardino Superior Court on July 31. “Therefore, the San Bernardino Superior Court is a proper jurisdiction for the crime charged.”

Judge Michael A. Smith will hear arguments from both the prosecution and the defense during a hearing on the motions on Friday.

More at link: http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20150805/prosecutors-respond-to-defense-dismissal-motion-in-mcstay-family-slayings


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:36 pm 
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Lawyer’s request to dismiss McStay slaying case rejected

The Sun
By Joe Nelson | August 7, 2015, 4:10 PM PDT


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A motion to dismiss the capital murder case against Charles “Chase” Merritt in the beating deaths of a Fallbrook family of four was denied Friday by a San Bernardino Superior Court judge, paving the way for trial to commence by the end of the year.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Merritt.

Merritt maintains his innocence, and his attorney, Jimmy Mettias, sought dismissal of the case on jurisdictional grounds, arguing in a motion filed with the court that prosecutors, in their criminal complaint, allege the crimes occurred in San Bernardino County. That contradicts the prosecution’s belief that the McStay family was beaten to death with a 3-pound sledgehammer in their home in San Diego County on or about Feb. 4, 2010, Mettias said.

“It does indeed hamper our ability to defend Mr. Merritt because it ties to the theory of the case; what’s the theory of the case here?” Mettias said at Friday’s hearing before Judge Michael A. Smith.

Prosecutors maintain that jurisdiction can be anywhere involving a criminal act, whether it is where a fatal injury was inflicted or in the county in which the injured party died or in the county in which his or her body was found.

Smith concurred with prosecutors Britt Imes and Sean Daugherty, saying that jurisdiction in a murder case can be either where the bodies of the victim or victims were found or where the victim/victims were killed.

“The disposing of the bodies is part of the crime, so, once the bodies are disposed of in a particular county, at least part of the crime is committed, carried out or completed in that county,” Smith said. “So that does give the county — San Bernardino County — jurisdiction.”

[...]
Smith scheduled the next pretrial hearing for Sept. 4, and Merritt waived his trial date to within 60 days of that hearing.

More at link: http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20150 ... e-rejected


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 3:04 pm 
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Merritt's attorneys hire PR firm to counter negative publicity

vvDailyPress.com
By Shea Johnson | August 17, 2015


VICTORVILLE — The defense team for accused McStay family killer Charles Merritt has retained a public relations firm, a move that's part of a wider strategy to counter the negative publicity he's received through the media, attorney Jimmy Mettias said Monday.

Mettias said Yucaipa-based Desmond & Louis Public Relations was hired on retainer about six weeks ago. Their work so far has included administering a survey to evaluate how San Bernardino County residents feel about Merritt, yet Mettias declined to provide specifics.

"In order to focus on the legal aspect of (the case), we've hired a firm to deal with the other aspect of it," he said, referring to the media and public opinion.

The firm's hiring came prior to Mettias taking to Twitter late last month to announce he would start to "shed light" on Merritt's innocence through social media leading up to trial. Mettias said both moves are a means to offset the damage done to Merritt by a CNN interview with the District Attorney in November and the press conference announcing his arrest.

"We have a duty to mitigate any damage that was done," he said. "Bottom line is, (prosecutors) don't want certain facts out there that would make their case look very weak."

[...]
Merritt is due to return to court Sept. 4 after the defense's motion to dismiss the case was denied earlier this month. He is accused of killing the McStay family of four in February 2010 and dumping their bodies in shallow graves in an unincorporated desert area near Stoddard Wells Road.

More at link: http://www.vvdailypress.com/article/20150817/NEWS/150819764


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:19 pm 
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Charles Merritt murder trial in San Bernardino delayed again

By Joe Nelson, The Sun | September 4, 2015


SAN BERNARDINO - The trial for McStay family murder suspect Charles “Chase” Merritt was delayed again Friday after one of Merritt’s attorneys told the judge that the defense team was requesting funding for expert witnesses.

Defense attorney Rajan Maline told San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith during the brief hearing that four motions requesting the funding had been filed with another judge.

He requested the next hearing be scheduled for Oct. 2, which Smith granted. Merritt agreed to waive his trial 60 days beyond Oct. 2.

“There’s a tremendous amount of work to do,” Maline said after Friday’s proceedings. Merritt’s lead attorney, Jimmy Mettias, was absent Friday because he had to appear in court on another case.

Prosecutors declined to comment.

More at link: http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20150904/charles-merritt-murder-trial-in-san-bernardino-delayed-again


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:36 pm 
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Still no trial date set in McStay case

The San Diego Union-Tribune
By Teri Figueroa | October 2, 2015, 4:45PM


A pretrial hearing has been set for next month for the man accused of killing the McStay family of Fallbrook, and still no trial date has been set.

Charles “Chase” Merritt was in San Bernardino Superior Court on Friday morning to schedule the trial. Instead, another pretrial hearing was set, this one for Nov. 6 — the day after the anniversary of Merritt’s arrest in the slayings of the family of four.

More at link: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/oct/02/mcstay-merritt-pretrial-hearing-set-for-november/


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:15 pm 
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If you add "transcript" in the first sentence, the remainder of the article makes more sense. :roll
"..gave them a transcript of a recent interview with a woman.."

Woman provides info on potential suspects in McStay family slayings

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
POSTED: 10/02/15, 10:25 AM PDT


SAN BERNARDINO -- Defense attorneys for McStay family murder suspect Charles “Chase” Merritt said Friday prosecutors gave them a recent interview with a woman claiming to know about other potential suspects in the case.

“One of the things we got today centers on other responsible parties,” said Rajan Maline, Merritt’s co-counsel, after a pretrial hearing for Merritt on Friday in San Bernardino Superior court. “Today, what we’re receiving is additional information, not necessarily tied to any particular group, but with a connection to potentially drugs and drug dealers and things of that nature. There’s a lot of third-party culpability in this case.”

Maline and Merritt’s lead attorney, Jimmy Mettias, said they do not know who the woman is who was recently interviewed by investigators for the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office and have yet to review the interview transcript and talk to the woman themselves.

“These are statements being made by people we don’t even know. We don’t know how credible it is,” Maline said, adding that the woman interviewed by district attorney’s investigators appeared to know things about the case that have not been released.

Prosecutors Sean Daugherty and Britt Imes declined to comment.

More at link: http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20151002/woman-provides-info-on-potential-suspects-in-mcstay-family-slayings


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:17 pm 
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McStay family murder suspect demands trial, may lose attorneys
By Joe Nelson | The Sun | January 15, 2015


SAN BERNARDINO >> Attorneys for McStay family murder suspect Charles “Chase” Merritt asked to be relieved as his counsel during a pretrial hearing Friday in San Bernardino Superior Court after Merritt told the judge he did not want to waive any more time and wanted to go to trial.

On Friday, Merritt surprised his attorneys when he told San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith he did not want to waive any more time and wanted to go to trial in April, said Rajan Maline, one of the attorneys representing Merritt.

“This was totally unanticipated,” Maline said following the hearing. “(Merritt) wants to not waste time and put it to trial at the end of April, but there’s too much work to be done.”

“The case won’t be ready for trial then, so that’s a problem,” Maline said. He said the earliest the defense team can go to trial is late July or early August. “We’re going as fast as we can, but there’s a lot of experts and a lot of people who have to do work, not just attorneys, but third parties, and that takes time.”

More at link: http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20160115/mcstay-family-murder-suspect-demands-trial-may-lose-attorneys

[no pretrial hearing dates set]


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:48 pm 
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I missed this in the media. Interesting and makes me wonder if he's losing it or having a case of conscience?

"On Friday, Merritt surprised his attorneys when he told San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith he did not want to waive any more time and wanted to go to trial in April, said Rajan Maline, one of the attorneys representing Merritt."

Curious to see where this goes. I believe the evidence shows he is guilty. Courting the media was a big mistake that backfired for him. Merritt's crime was of the worst caliber to me since it involved terrorizing and murdering innocent children. I hope he suffers a long, long time on San Quentin's frozen death row.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:52 pm 
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Hello, Persi! :28 Welcome to RT, it's nice to have you here.
Yes, McStay has left a paper-trail of evidence that is going to be difficult for him to get around.
--------------------------------
McSTAY CASE: Quadruple murder defendant may hire new lawyers
By Gail Wesson | The Press Enterprise | February 11, 2016


A judge is giving Charles "Chase" Merritt until Feb. 25 to possibly retain private counsel to represent him in the 2010 McStay family quadruple murder trial.

During a pre-trial hearing before San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Michael Smith on Thursday, Feb. 11, Merritt said he is again trying to retain private counsel, but a little more time to work out details. Although Merritt did not mention anyone by name, he spoke to Riverside attorney James E. McGee II before and after the hearing.

McGee said outside court, "There are conversations that are going on." If there is an agreement on representation, it would be joint representation with another Riverside attorney, Rajan Maline, McGee said.
[...]
The judge said a trial would be scheduled within 90 days of the Feb. 25 hearing date. Because he terminated his previous legal team, Merritt represented himself at the Thursday hearing.

He left open the possibility that he may continue to represent himself and ask the judge to appoint an "advisory" legal counsel, which he had about a year ago before he changed his mind and sought a court-appointed legal team.

More at link: http://www.pe.com/articles/merritt-7940 ... judge.html


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:18 pm 
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McSTAY CASE: Defendant hires new legal defense team
By Gail Wesson | The Press Enterprise | March 4, 2016


Charles "Chase" Merritt, accused in the quadruple homicides of the McStay family in 2010, has a new legal defense team.

San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Michael Smith had given Merritt, 58, until a hearing Friday, March 4, to hire new lawyers, which he said he wanted to do, or agree to another representation option.

In recent weeks, Merritt had represented himself after he terminated his legal team. The new team is attorneys Rajan Maline and James E. McGee II, both of Riverside. Another hearing on discovery, or exchange of documents, is scheduled March 23.

More at link: http://www.pe.com/articles/bernardino-7 ... t-san.html


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:21 pm 
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March 23, 2016
Quote:
SAN BERNARDINO — A continuance was granted Wednesday to the new defense of the accused killer in the McStay family murders case, according to Superior Court of San Bernardino County Spokesman Dennis Smith.

Riverside-based attorney Rajan R. Maline told the Daily Press he requested the continuance because more time was needed to attain discovery from his defendant's previous attorneys.

Following the continuance, a hearing date was set for April 29 to confirm whether Merritt is prepared to proceed to trial, according to Smith.

Source: http://www.vvdailypress.com/article/201 ... /160329905


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:26 pm 
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Private eye under scrutiny in McStay family murder case
By Joe Nelson | The Sun | April 29, 2016


SAN BERNARDINO -- The actions of a private investigator came under scrutiny Friday in San Bernardino Superior Court in the case of Charles “Chase” Merritt, accused of killing a family of four and burying their bodies in the Mojave Desert near Victorville.

Prosecutors are questioning in a court motion whether David Farrell has physical evidence in his possession that needs to be turned over to the court as part of the pretrial discovery process. Defense attorneys filed a response to that motion.

Farrell was Merritt’s court-appointed investigator until he requested to be taken off the case last month. Retired San Bernardino police sergeant Gary Robertson is now Merritt’s court-appointed investigator.

Judge Michael A. Smith scheduled a hearing on the matter for Thursday [May 5, 2016]. At the request of prosecutors, Smith on Friday ordered the motions sealed, meaning they cannot be accessed by the public or media.

Merritt’s attorneys say Farrell hasn’t turned over any of his work product to them since he left the case, including notes, written reports, a list of witnesses he interviewed and billing statements.

“It is abundantly clear this matter must be addressed immediately,” defense attorney James McGee told Smith, who ordered Farrell to immediately turn his work product over to the defense team.

Farrell, who was subpoenaed to be at Friday’s hearing for any anticipated testimony, declined to comment following the hearing. Smith ordered him to return to court next week for the motion hearing.

[...]Also on Friday, Merritt’s attorneys requested a gag order be issued against Farrell to preclude him from divulging any attorney-client privileged information to third parties while the case is under adjudication, but Smith declined to do so, arguing that Farrell was already under that obligation having already worked on the case.

More at link: http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20160 ... urder-case


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:02 pm 
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It's been over a year and a half since he was arrested. :roll

Pre-trial hearing for McStay family homicide suspect is continued
By Doug Saunders | The Sun | June 3, 2016


SAN BERNARDINO >> A pre-trial hearing scheduled for the man accused of accused of killing a family of four and burying their bodies in the Mojave Desert near Victorville has been continued.

“The defense requested and was granted a continuance,” San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Christopher Lee said.

Lee was unclear as to the reason behind the continuance request.

Charles “Chase” Merritt, 58, of Homeland, will return to San Bernardino County Superior Court on July 8 for the hearing, according to Lee.

More at link: http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20160 ... -continued


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 2:07 pm 
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h/t Joe Nelson@SBcountyNow

Pre-trial / case status hearing today.
Defense attorney Rajan Maline said they are making good progress in the case.
Judge Michael Smith set the next hearing for Sept. 23. That's it! #McStay @Bethkaras


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:24 pm 
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I have a perfect patch of desert to bury this piece of shit in. Make sure to contact me when he is out on bail.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:01 pm 
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I remember when the family went missing in 2010, but time passed and I forgot about it. I don't even remember hearing when they discovered the bodies.

This is going to be an interesting trial IF it ever gets started. :doh It's going on three years and MANY delays, one being if they had enough evidence to try him. The last being when Merritt fired his defense team. His new lawyers are dragging it out as they become familiar with the case.

I'd need to look, but I am pretty sure he is out on bail.


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