DA to seek death penalty in McStay family murders

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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.