Jurors in San Bernardino Hear Closing Arguments in McStay Family Murder Trial

Charles Merritt appears in court in San Bernardino in an undated image. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Charles Merritt appears in court in San Bernardino in an undated image. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Days before Joseph McStay and his family mysteriously vanished in February 2010, he accused his business partner of owing him thousands of dollars.

On Tuesday, a prosecutor in the McStay family murder trial recounted for jurors the events that followed.

The partner, Charles “Chase” Merritt, allegedly forged checks to himself from McStay’s QuickBooks account, then tried to erase the paper trail. When speaking with detectives, Merritt referred to McStay in the past tense. For several days after the family’s disappearance, Merritt’s phone went dark for hours at a time.

“Where was the defendant?” San Bernardino County Deputy Dist. Atty. Britt Imes asked jurors, referring to one particular six-hour stretch of no phone activity. “What could the defendant do in six hours? Clean up a crime scene? Hide evidence? Move evidence?”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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