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Mother testifies through tears at trial of man accused of killing son’s family

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A woman whose son, daughter-in-law and two young grandsons were murdered and buried in shallow graves in the Mojave Desert testified at the trial of the man accused of killing the family.

Susan Blake is the mother of Joseph McStay. She was called to testify in the murder trial of Chase Merritt, the man accused of killing Joseph, his wife, Summer, and their two sons, Guani and Joseph Jr. She told the jury about the first days after the Fallbrook family disappeared in 2010.
Blake told prosecutors that she had paid Merritt $5,000 to keep her son`s business going until his return. Prosecutors have built their case against Merritt around the theory that he killed the family so he could siphon off money from McStay's business. They say Merritt stole about $42,000 from McStay, who was his employer.

Tuesday, Blake recounted through tears about the day in 2013 another son told her that the bodies of her son and his family had been found in the desert near Victorville.

"The hardest thing my son ever had to do was tell me that they have found them in the desert, and he met with a sheriff or someone, and I didn`t believe it, or I didn't want to believe it,' Blake said.

The news that her 3- and 4-year-old grandsons had been killed as well was too much for the mother and grandmother.

"I asked them about the little guys and he told me that they were also gone. I literally don`t remember everything because I fell to the floor,' Blake said.

Blake said she only visited the families Mojave site where her family had been buried once. She said she would never go back.

"Me and my friend went to see the four crosses, and it dropped me to my knees," Blake said.

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