Verdict Reached in McStay Family Murder Trial

The jury has reached a verdict Friday after deliberations in the trial of a Southern California man charged with killing a family of four and burying their bodies in the desert.

The verdict in the case brought by San Bernardino County prosecutors against 62-year-old Charles “Chase” Merritt is expected to be read Monday. 

Merritt’s business associate Joseph McStay, McStay’s wife Summer and the couple’s 3- and 4-year-old sons vanished from their San Diego County home in 2010. Three years later, their bodies were found in shallow graves more than 100 miles away in the high desert north of Los Angeles.

Merritt was arrested in 2014. Authorities said they traced his cellphone to the gravesite area and to a call seeking to close McStay’s online bookkeeping account.

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If Merritt is convicted, prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

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