San Bernardino County DA to Seek Death Penalty in McStay Family Murders

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mcstay-family

A family photo shows Joseph McStay, his wife Summer and sons Gianni and Joseph.

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday that it would seek the death penalty against the man charged in the murders of four members of the McStay family.

District Attorney Mike Ramos filed notice in San Bernardino County Superior Court that his office would pursue the death penalty against Charles Ray Merritt.

The McStay family was last heard from Feb. 4, 2010 just months after moving from south Orange County to Fallbrook, in San Diego County.

The bodies of Joseph McStay, his wife Summer and their two young sons, Gianni and Joseph Jr. were discovered Nov. 11, 2014, by an off-road motorcyclist between Quarry Road and the 15 Freeway, north of Stoddard Wells Road, authorities said.

Charles Merritt was led out of the courtroom after his arraignment, where he pleaded not guilty in the slayings of the McStay family. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

Charles Merritt was led out of the courtroom after his arraignment, where he pleaded not guilty in the slayings of the McStay family. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

Joseph McStay and Summer were identified through dental records. DNA was used to identify the children, according to a news release from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Merritt, a business associate of Joseph McStay, was charged with four counts of murder in the case.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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