McStay Family Murdered: Will Desert Graves Yield Their Killers?

Deserted in the Desert

Gianni Family Photo





Gianni Martelli McStay had rock star hair at only 4years old.  His little brother Joseph, affectionately nicknamed Chubba- did as well.  They both rocked a beanie like no other little dudes.

Chubba Family Photo

Gianni and Chubba were as inseparable in life as they were in death when they were recovered in a shallow grave in the Mojave Desert on November 11.

Their parents, Joseph, 40 and Summer McStay, 43, were located in a separate grave nearby.

A 3rd gravesite was found-but empty.  A protected source not authorized to speak to the media has confirmed that at least one of the parent’s remains was bound by an electrical cord.

While formal DNA comparisons and autopsy protocols are pending, the manner of death in all four victims have been declared homicides.

Just about 50 yards off the intersection of Route 15 and Quarry Rd the family that San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDCSD) believed was “likely” voluntarily missing on their own and living in Mexico, was recovered in a 30 hour excavation process.   An off road motorcycle enthusiast called the San Bernardino County Sheriff when he came across what he suspected was human remains.

Last April SDCSD forwarded the McStay case to the FBI based on their conclusions that the McStay’s had McGone to Mexico, following a lengthy complaint of their handling of the case by Patrick McStay, Joseph’s Father.   Troy Dugal, previous lead investigator of the McStay case, appeared on several news and cable television programs over the last three years explaining there was “overwhelming” circumstantial evidence the family of four that was pictured crossing the border into Tijuana, Mexico the evening of February 8th, 2010 was in fact, the McStays.

Following the recovery, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office will maintain jurisdiction of the investigation.

Frenemies..  Frenethieves.. Friends.. Family or Cartel?

Who brutally murders innocent children and dumps them in a hole they dug in the desert?

Logically- someone who is very familiar with the area.  Of course it is just as shocking and horrific to murder anyone,  but it takes a specific brand of evil to murder a baby.  Make that two.

There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that either Joseph or Summer McStay had any ties to drugs, associates with ties to drugs or cartel, at any time.   None.

Contrary to a top selling book on the case, “No Goodbyes” by Rick Baker, there has never been any evidence whatsoever that Summer McStay was some sort of closeted psychotic and homicidal type.  The book goes on to malign members of both Joseph and Summer’s families and in some cases outright accuses same of extortion or stealing.   Baker’s subsequent public theory is that Summer murdered Joseph and everyone should be looking for her and the boys in Mexico.

Not surprisingly , Baker has requested Amazon pull his book from available stock and has offered refunds to prior purchases.   Popular online sleuth sites previously promoting “No Goodbye’s” have since either deleted it’s hundreds of posts endorsing Baker, or moved them to a member’s only private viewing area.

Albeit obtusely, Baker does touch on a troubling and serious abuse allegation concerning Joseph McStay’s oldest son from his first marriage, Jonah, and his step-father, Michael McFadden.  He writes summer filed a complaint with Child Protective Services after she and Joseph recorded a conversation with Jonah and placed a copy of same with a private party for safekeeping. has been able to independently verify that is accurate, but that the investigation was not known to be completed until shortly after the McStay’s disappearance.  Under California probate law, Jonah would be an heir to the McStay estate or as otherwise provisioned in the instance of an existing will.

Interviewed by Laura Ling for E! Investigation, Joseph McStay’s web administrator Dan Kavanaugh claims he was the first to become concerned.  In Baker’s book, he refers to him as a suspect and details how he alleges he was funneling cash from McStay’s business account before he or anyone else knew the family was missing.  Kavanaugh has an unrelated open criminal matter in San Diego County according to court records.

Chase Merritt- Joseph McStay’s business partner in his water fountain design and installation business was the last number ever dialed from his phone at 8:28PM on February 4th.  Merritt joined McStay in a lunch meeting earlier that afternoon where they discussed a proposal for a very large car wash chain to feature custom fountains in each facility.   According to family friend MacCargar McGyver, McStay was very excited about the opportunity.  Merritt claims he passed a voluntary lie detector test, and that he was adamant that Joseph McStay would never have taken his family to Mexico and has always believed they met with foul play.

McGYver spent several days leading up to February 4th at the McStay home due to a painter Summer hired not returning to complete the job.  McGyver introduced Summer and Joseph and by all accounts was a close confidant of the couple.

Patrick McStay, Joseph’s Father living in Texas has had some harsh words for the investigation into the disappearance of his son, daughter in law and grandsons.

“…most botched, inept investigation I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”

He also believes very strongly that the list of suspects with motive to kill his family members is very short.  Three, to be exact.

He said the department didn’t even bother to contact him to tell him his son’s remains had been found.

“I got a message from someone [on Thursday] on Facebook telling me to go and read an article,” McStay said. “The minute I read the article, I knew it was him.”

“I have exhausted and have so much information on three possible persons of interest. All have a motive.”

The three individuals are not connected to each other, but all of them seem like likely candidates. Patrick says one of them seems to be a particularly likely suspect: he’s a wealthy man with a long rap sheet that includes charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and burglary. McStay says he, too, has a motive for killing his son.

Although Mr. McStay did not reference him by name, he may be referring to Michael James McFadden, who was arrested in July 1998 and charged with attempted murder and a litany of other felonies including great bodily harm to a child:

459/460(a) PC – Burglary 07/16/1998 02/25/2000 Dismissed
422 PC – Assault 07/16/1998 02/25/2000 Dismissed
273.5(a) PC – Domestic Violence 07/16/1998 02/25/2000 Dismissed
12022.7(d) PC – Infliction of great bodily injury on a child under the age of five … 07/16/1998 02/25/2000 Dismissed
422 PC – Assault 07/16/1999 02/25/2000 Dismissed
240 PC – Attempt to inflict violent force on another person. 07/16/1999 02/25/2000 Dismissed
245(a)(1) PC – Assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm 07/16/1998 01/18/2000 Pled Guilty
12022.7(d) PC – Infliction of great bodily injury on a child under the age of five… 07/16/1998 02/25/2000 Dismissed
422 PC – Criminal Terrorist Threat 07/16/1999 01/18/2000 Pled Guilty
664-187 PC – Attempted Murder 07/16/1998 02/25/2000 Dismissed

You will note some of the charges are from 1998, others 1999 on the anniversary date, McFadden successfully negotiated a plea agreement and only pled to criminal terroristic threats and assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm.  Both felonies.

In the complaint he lodged against the detectives in SDCSD, Patrick McStay specifically references failure to interview key suspects he provided to LE directly.

Given the location of the bodies, it would seem that whoever is responsible would at least want investigators to think McFadden was involved.  As a self-proclaimed mountain bike “racer”, McFadden has participated in several bike events in various locations all along the Route 15 Mojave corridor.  SBCSO says they will be re-interviewing everyone in the case and have no suspects.

There have been no named suspects to date and the investigation is ongoing.  Memorial or Funeral arrangements for the McStay’s have not yet been announced .  LATE EDIT: The family and friends of the McStay family will gather at the grave site in Victorville,  on Joseph’s McStay’s birthday.

To be continued in Part 2:  Analysis of the last day of their lives points to involvement by someone they knew.



Related Posts:


  1. Tarheel says:

    I’m watching the press conference. Charles Chase Merritt has been arrested for the murder of the McStay family.

  2. [...] is a developing story, please check back for [...]

  3. Michael McFadden says:

    You owe me an apology.

    For telling the truth? No sir. You should have been honest up front instead of trying to hide the truth, but I will apologize to my readers for not being able to discuss what was on the video and the contents of sessions attended by one of the children.

  4. Rose says:

    I sure hope they got that right about all the killings occurring in the home- BFT of 4 individuals would leave quite a crime scene.

  5. Michael McFadden says:

    You and your readers are morons. Have a nice life.

    Lol- yeah, ok. If that were true what would it matter what I/we thought?

    You know I do not know why at this juncture it still amazes me that your first reaction is to make the brutal murder of 4 people, one of which your step-sons FATHER, about you. If I were you, and I am not, I would be very careful about how vociferous I was- you are a defense attorney’s dream and as I have seen some evidence first hand, you can be sure that if and when this case goes to trial, there will be ample conversation about what was going on in the lives of the McStay’s to include your entanglements.

  6. Lynne M. says:

    B~ Are you now able to discuss the video and contents of sessions attended by one of the children?


  7. Lynne M. says:

    Michael McFadden seems to be the moron around here. As you said B, his first reaction is to make this brutal crime about him? Who does that? I hope to God Joey’s eldest is safe in that house. Something tells me he’s not in the safest or sanest of environments. Poor kid…

  8. karl westerberg says:

    Good if this is the solution of this terrible crime.

    It felt for some months ,during the spring and summer when everything seemed to cold off, that it never was going to be solved.
    One shouldnt go over the river for fetching water…….the first impression is often the best.
    I mean it was someone close to the family who was liable.

    But if one is allowed to say that something is interesting, when dealing with something so awful like this, one wonders why the first police investigation couldnt find any evidence of the crime scene in the house and what the new investigation has found now.

    Like many here I think there are more than one person guilty, but well see.

  9. karl westerberg says:

    Just one more thing.
    An accused isnt guilty until a verdict after a fair trial.
    Thats a very important principle which is easy to forget when emotions are involved and its a murder trial.
    Death penalty is always wrong , whatever the crime.
    Thats also a very important principle because of two reasons:
    One: Noone has the right to kill someone else, neither the guilty murderer nor the state.
    Two: The convicted can be innocent even if the trial was fair.
    In US f.ex. I think one calculate that about 10 % of the executed are innocent.
    And no state should be responsible for or have the right to murder its citizens.
    Unfortunately there are still some countries in the world that doesnt understand that.
    Some are underdeveloped some very developed , some democracies some dictatorships.
    Its difficult to understand how a developed democracy want to be in the same “execution club” as the opposite.

  10. whodunnit says:

    This is a some gruesome ideation on my part but:

    I would imagine that death by blunt force trauma could occur with minimum of mess if it occurred after the victims were knocked out by drugs injections or gas. The remains were skeletized, so that might make any definitive doxology reports impossible.
    No matter what, it is really hard to imagine that ONE person acting alone could accomplish the murders, get the bodies out, bury them without leaving any traces what so ever, in a short amount of time.

    Having said that, we all know there were days before a missing person report was filed, the investigation was haphazard from the get go.

    Re: Chase Merrit;
    here is a 2013 article about Merrit as suspect:
    According to his public criminal record, Between 1977 and 2001, Merrit was in jail for 535 days, and in prison for 1210 days- in other words, a bout 4 1/2 years of being incarcerated in a 24 year period.

    4 1/2 years worth of time in any community establishes connections and resources within that community. Think of college. Put Merrit in the context of this amount of time spent with other criminals, which would include knowledge of and accessing those other criminals experience and connection’s too, and to my mind, you have at least one part of this puzzle.

    As to motivation and accomplices- I suppose only a full confession will solve that.

    RIP McStay family, RIP.

  11. Candace says:

    I wonder if the investigator used cell phone records, like the pings off the towers, etc, to conclude that Merritt was involved.

    Also, how did that search for Mexico get on the home computer?? Seems like premeditation or an accomplice.

    It is my personal belief that Summer may have preformed that search for the painter they hired. He lives there and has a younger child.

  12. Ceci says:

    Why does Michael McFadden think that just because an arrest was made for the murders someone else did not commit a crimes with regards to the CPS case. We all know who that someone else is.

  13. Chelsea says:

    Blink, I have been a huge fan, but I am going to have to agree with Michael McFadden. I think he was treated pretty despicably during the processing of this case.

    (not just by you, many) And he isn’t the only person who has been given a rough time.

    It’s one of the side issues of the case that has been most concerning.

    But McFadden especially endured a great deal of public exposure, that really didn’t serve this case. None of us would fair well if every wart, mistake, rumor of our life were placed on display to an audience of thousands. There really was no reason to drag Mr. McFadden’s life through the mud during the course of this investigation. It served no real purpose. And this type of exposure can be damaging.

    It also bothers me that you seem to be implying that McFadden is a child abuser. It’s what is to be inferred when you write: “I will apologize to my readers for not being able to discuss what was on the video and the contents of sessions attended by one of the children.”

    If you aren’t ready to back something like this up with fact, it seems a very unfair claim to make. Child abuse is a serious charge.

    It actually diminishes your credibility as a crime investigator, because it doesn’t seem motivated by anything more than your anger with McFadden. Unless you really believe he is a child abuser and then shouldn’t you be reporting this to the proper authorities?

    1. Chelsea- I know who you are. Let’s start there. No chance of you saving graces on my back.
    2. If you took the time to familiarize yourself with the McStay case you would know that CPS was in fact investigating McFadden regarding an allegation that involved a minor. I reference information about investigative evidence that he is familiar with that is not subject to a content review publicly, period.

    I am not responsible for inferences you draw.

    I have no cause to be angry with McFadden whatsoever outside of the additional stress he caused Patrick McStay and the other members of the family over the last year.

  14. Michael McFadden says:

    ^ Nice sentence. Not much on grammar huh? My point proven again. If there was ever a valid CPS case don’t you idiots think somebody would have been charged with a crime? Wow you are stupid!

    Mr. McFarsen- if you wish to post here you will need to be respectful and civil. I will give you a heads up their are a fair amount of CASA’s, GAL’s and lawyers on this site so if you want to open the CPS can be my guest- but you know as well as I do that Summer and Joey had every right to request a hearing on any CPS finding, whether that be “founded or unfounded” and I strongly suspect that would have been the McStay’s track.

    As it were, they were dead in a ditch with their children- the subject of that inquiry, so that was not possible.
    As I said earlier, the bottom line here is that you lied, and not just by omission, outright lied about your criminal past to members of the McStay family and that is not my opinion- I spoke with them.

  15. alta says:

    Thank god. Didnt think I would see this day..peace to all.

  16. alta says:

    House thing worried about that. How could that of been done

  17. Michael McFadden says:

    I see what you did with the name there. Cute. You are so wrong on so many levels. I’m outta here again so you and your 10 readers carry on with your frivolous gossip as you feel necessary.

  18. Chelsea says:


    You do not know who I am. The reason that I know this is that I have gone to links to remain anonymous. But just out of curiosity who do you think I am? I know Baker thought I was Chelsea Hoffman and he was wrong. That was a funny moment, actually. Someday I will tell you who I am, and you will be completely surprised. But not yet.

    I know a lot about this case. I’m well aware of the CPS report. But I also believe that this type of evidence should only have been shared with investigators–there was zero reason to share it with the public at large. No evidence ever existed that showed McFadden or a number of other POIs had anything to do with this crime. I do believe that defamation laws around this issue will get more restrictive.

    You present yourself as someone after justice and facts. And I truly relied on your site for this reason. But lately you seem reactive and insulting, rather than calm and thoughtful. You are actually starting to remind me of Chelsea Hoffman.

    LOL. What kind of manipulative clap trap is that?
    1. Let me re-state for the record- I KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Seems to me like that is your end goal.

    For the record Chelsea- anything and everything I have ever developed that would be considered case sensitive is given directly to LE in any case. You are free to review my personal casework on this site to include those where my work has discovered missing victims, and brought their offenders to justice or other pending cases where my work is discoverable. Sorry if you feel that I am reactive to a glib and oddly liberal perspective on a convicted felon who obfusicated that information to this family in the face of a CPS investigation- I do not take that lightly- most especially considering these cherubs ended up brutally murdered. So yeah, I guess your right- I am less calm and thoughtful than usual.

    Lastly- who says this?

    Someday I will tell you who I am, and you will be completely surprised. But not yet.


  19. alta says:

    Is chase who you thought? Or not saying at
    This time.

    I will say that in December of 2013 there was some information I reviewed that pointed in that direction, yes.

  20. Birger says:

    Blink, first let me say thank you for your work. Many of these cases are truly disturbing and it has been nice to have a “place” to come together and consider the situation.

    I have a small question about protocol. When all of this is said and done, Merritt has been convicted or acquitted, is the evidence made public? There are so many questions that left unanswered will haunt many of us for years to come.

    Again, thank you and I look forward to watching this portion unfold and for justice to be done for Joey, Summer, Gianni and Joseph Jr.

    Typically under public records laws, when material is made discoverable at trial it must be accessible to the public, however, some exceptions and always subject to motions.

  21. GraceintheHills says:

    Blink, you do not have to publish this if you don’t want to.

    Chelsea, with respect, I suspect you are the one who wreaked havoc and tried to manipulate people at several sites involving the McStay case. News Flash: This is NOT and will never be about you. This is is about a mother, father, and two tiny children who were brutally murdered.

    Mr. McFadden, the thing I respect most about BOC is that she tolerates opinions and points of view that aren’t always in sync with her own. I never – not for one nanosecond – thought you had anything to do with the disappearance/murders. I am sorry that your family, in particular, your stepson, has suffered the loss of his Dad, his stepmother, and precious little brothers. He’s got a long road ahead of him, losing a father at his age, as well as his brothers and will need support. Wishing all of you the best.

    It is one and the same Grace, yes. Fine with you posting your thoughts.

  22. Rose says:

    wrt “I have gone to links to remain anonymous.”
    Whoever he/she is, imo this person is an
    illiterate consumer of social media such that when he/she
    dispenses the word links in the sentence above,

    The word is not “links” but “lengths.”

  23. tiberious says:

    Hi, I try to follow along and read each comment carefully so as to understand what is being said. What is confusing me right now is (and please forgive IIRincorrectly) I got the impression that since this crime involved the murder of minor children that it was considered a ‘personal crime’ vs. ‘a murder for financial gain etc.’. Am I wrong? I am trying to get a grasp on what you, blink, consider a possible motive for this crime? Does the fact that you believe that more than one person is involved alter the ‘motive’? Do you believe that it is possible that the others that are involved did it for financial gain and didn’t realize the children would be killed? Or was it ‘personal’ for all involved?

    Do you think they can possibly arrest the others without Chase’s help?

    There is no question for me this motive is financial. The rest is too early for me to call.

    Thank you for any information you provide that helps me to understand what is happening and what the motives are.

  24. Rag doll says:

    @ Graceinthehills

    Your post is mercifully honest. Bless your lovely heart…always posting with kindness and….’grace’. You are your handle, dear friendy.

    Read crime is solved on CNN. So many on here remained determined and relentless. What a testimony to who hangs out @ BOC.

    Friendly, I pray this brings you some rest, in so many ways . You done good, girl.

    Keeping the family in my prayers. It never has to be this way. It came down to choosin greed and selfishness over invaluable love.

  25. whodunnit says:

    I am confused about one thing ( well one thing at least, lol)
    my question:
    is there confirmation that a call was placed from Joey’s cell to Chase Merrits cell around 8 p.m. that night?

    I ask because in Merrits post murser press interview, he said he regretted not answering that call. But I understood you to say that you had no confirmation that Merrit’s phone had registered a missed call.

    The McStay cell phone pings were referred to as clues as to their whereabouts that night, and theories sprang forth etc.
    In retrospect,in claiming his innocence, Merrit included the info about cell phone conversations and how he regretted not answering that call. he said he was with his girlfriend at the time.In essence he was saying, hey I was no where near the Mcstays, heres the proof. But when you think about it, how would a missed cell phone call even exonerate Merrit? he could have done whatever he did after that call.
    Finding the truth behind that cell phone call may be a big key to solving what happened and who did what where and when, wouldn’t it?

  26. cisero says:

    Interesting point about the cell phone call, whodunnit. I suspect there could be a couple things that would explain that. If he was wanting to give himself an alibi, he could have left his phone at his home, and made the phone call from Joey’s phone himself. Now he has his phone pinging from a tower near his home, which phone records would then verify. Or perhaps this was an accidental re-dial which occurred either when he was disposing of the phones, or during a physical altercation. Assuming that LE has his phone records in addition to the McStays, I guess that will become known soon enough.

    In any event, so happy that justice is finally coming for this beautiful family.

  27. Marc Danford says:

    Not knowing any of theses people personally, but I’ve kept somewhat up to date through different media, it seems there’s at least one if not two back stories. Isn’t it not so much a secret there’s some large financial situations\property games taking place. What about the lack of personal belongings in their home, coats in the closets. How could one person do this in there home and clean it to the point luminal wouldn’t work. I hate to use the conspiracy word, but I don’t see how one person could do this.

  28. sean says:

    I’m sure that there’s plenty of evidence in place for the police to come to this conclusion. I’ve seen the video where a neighbor witnessed a large white truck on the driveway the evening of the family’s disappearance. Coincidentally, the same description of Chase Merrit’s truck. Along with cell phone pings, the sheets from the bed, the large toys found in the McStay car, which were probably used to cover the bodies of the Mcstay Family, and evidence found at the grave sites. Plus plenty more. If you also read the article about Merrit’s latest business partner and what he had to say about what transpired between Merrit and himself then the overall picture starts to become much clearer. Whether Kavanaugh has any connection to this or not still remains to be seen but I think the police have arrested the right person. There’s one thing that cannot be over analyzed. Merrit himself said that he was the last person that Joseph McStay saw. He phrased it in a manner that could not be a slip of the tongue but instead a quick and factual thought from his brain. :(

    It was not the evening of, it was the afternoon of and if you check google earth images over the years at last count I saw 6 white pick up trucks at any given time in the culdesac.

    Merritt has had a string of business partners, business failures and overall hot messes but his criminal background is in no way suggestive of something like this. I do believe he was involved, and I am sincerely hopeful they are correct and they have an ironclad case against him as the sole offender. So far, I am NOT hearing that at all. In particular the interview with Mike Ramos where he openly admits they have no idea what happened (details) but that evidence from the scene led to evidence from the home. SDCSD said yesterday they found no blood in the home- that is obviously interpretable ( did they look?) The investigation is ongoing. I don’t want to hear that in a case without an indictment and quadruple murder to include children. The State does not need a motive but you better believe a jury will.

    Not taking anything away from SBCSD whatsoever- I know why they were led to Chase in a way that SDCSD was not, however, what you are referring to as evidence is not evidence and is not going to be submitted as such without meeting the thresholds provided in criminal process and procedure of the state of California. You can’t hide 4 bloody corpses in the SUV under a childs stove and refrigerator. However this happened, it happened in phases (in my mind) and there is going to be a verifiable timeline that comes out of this that is going to call into question whether one person could be responsible, of that I am positive.

    I agree that his statement to Kaye was definitive. But that was made after the bodies were found.
    ( I admit I had not seen that until after his arrest).
    Maybe he is telling us what he knew we would learn.


  29. gray says:

    Remember the tire track information I posted on here that you completely discredited. Well, it turns out it was correct and was one of the lead LE followed up on. they contacted me and we were correct.
    This was the information that the tracks were formed in mud and have remained for 4 years and it rained on the 6th.

    Just thought you should know.

    I am aware they followed up on it, they followed up on every lead they got- what are you certifying exactly YOU were correct about that I discredited? The way I read your comment it looks like you are saying that tracks at the scene were formed in mud from rain on the 6th of February, 2010- not a specific source or trajectory of entry, etc? Is that correct?

  30. alta says:

    Are you concerend case wont be air tight? If so that is scary!
    Everyone needs this to be done with a conviction.

    In what I would consider a “foregone conclusion” in a prosecution to include my evaluation of it’s case in chief OR it’s affirmative defense- I would never use the words air tight or consider any prosecution that would involve a jury a slam dunk.

  31. alta says:

    Someone has to pay for this. I dont like death my penalty. But this touches my heart terribaly.

  32. alta says:

    Sorry for bad spelling.
    It bothers me what mcstays last moments were most likely like
    Cant wrap my mind around it.

  33. Lynne M. says:

    Blink: Do you find it bothersome that a Ramey warrant was obtained vs going through the DA? Will this diminish the states case? TIA

    As a stand-alone question not at all. It is common in some/many jurisdictions and can also be part of a prosecutorial strategy. The truth is a DA can override a similar warrant in almost any jurisdiction if they choose to before it was ever unsealed- Honestly- I have only seen this support criminal cases and in cases that were solid going into the preliminary hearing as this is.

    In particular, I have seen this used in cases where the DA is going to utilize a great deal of physical or direct evidence they do not wish to make public as the case in chief.




  34. alta says:

    Chase having heart failure…my a…s..
    Sorry. Not buying it. Drag him in on a stretcher to court

  35. Sister says:

    praying for the loved ones.

    Blink — keep on keeping on!

  36. Lynne M. says:

    Hi Blink: Have you heard if and/or when the Probable Cause affidavits might be released? I know several news organizations were working on their release, however, I haven’t heard anything more. I’m so anxious to read something, anything about how this tragedy could have taken place. BTW ~ I hope you and yours had a lovely Thanksgiving.

    Not before the preliminary hearing. Thanks- hope you and yours did as well.

  37. Lynne M. says:

    Hi B! It’s me again with another question. Lol Have you ever been able to confirm if the McStay’s did in fact have a “hidey hole” in their home and if so did it contain anything of value? RB said he saw it so why not get a picture of it? I think it’s just another rumor…

    I cannot comment on that.

  38. Audie says:

    Maybe a possibility is that Chase brought up any bad things about Summer, among poisoning, because he wanted to cause misdirection and he knew that he couldn’t say anything about Mike, Dan, Guy, or any of the players for instance, because yes, while they might have some questionable things in their backgrounds, he knew police would eventually reach a dead-end with them, while as saying something bad about Summer, who is passed, had these alias names, date of birth distortion, nationality issues, the family didn’t like her because she was controlling or jealous whatever, she had certain questionable friends through her life, he could try to mislead public with pointing the finger at Summer.

  39. Audie says:

    How bad is it for the prosecution if the jury doesn’t buy that they were all four killed in the home?
    Way too early to field that question because there are a handful of variables that would determine that- as an example- will there be updated or other charges, other defendants, etc.

    I would suggest however, that if the prosecution cannot prove forensically that all four were killed in the home and that theory is part of their case in chief they have more work to do or will learn to remove the theory-making tasks from the jury. They are already on the record.

    For me, and in fairness I do not know what they have from the home but I do know it is not blood evidence and they can’t allege things they cannot prove as to inflame the jury opinion.

    There is an awful lot of facts that would need to be in evidence to conclude and raise that issue to the jury.

  40. Jerry Lamonica says:

    What I don’t understand is why the prelim is taking so long to happen. I understand the defense is asking for time to become familiarized with the evidence. However, at the prelim only the state’s side of the case is presented. There is no cross examination of witnesses. Under our system of justice both sides including the people of the state of California are entitled to a fair and speedy trial. I don’t feel this is happening. Your thoughts?

    He just motioned for and was granted a change of venue.

  41. Sidney says:

    I thought the change of venue from Victorville to San Bernardino Superior Court House had to do with the fact that Victorville is a small courthouse, and it is anticipated that this trial will be attended by lots of media and voyers. I have been reading the court records, there is no mention of a defense motion for change of venue.

  42. Sidney says:

    The reason Ponce asked for a an continuance was because there is over 4,000 pages of evidence he needs to review prior to the prelim.

    I thought you had an in with investigators on this case. I’ve found quite a few factual errors.

    4,000 pages of evidence ( I think you mean discovery) is a weekend at most. Ponce is looking for co-chairs and financing- make no mistake. I am on the record with my work on this case and that is the extent I plan to comment on it- and please feel free to correct any “factual errors”. I get that comment frequently from people aligned in the defense camp when they want to know “what I know”- not gonna work, just fyi.

  43. Sidney says:

    Actually “discovery” is the technical term for the documents that outline the evidence.

    But what I thought odd was that you didn’t seem to know how the change of venue came about. The change of venue was not due to a motion by the defense, the choice was made because is anticipated that a larger courthouse is needed to accommodate the media and many others who will want to attend this trial.

    This change does nothing for the defense. The jury pool is the same for San Bernardino Superior CH as it is for Victorville.

    Read the court minutes. It’s all there.

    Also it is explained in the article below:

    “The case will resume with a pretrial conference Jan. 30 at the recently-opened San Bernardino Justice Center to accommodate the abundance of people observing the case.”

    ““The judge told us this morning we are going to San Bernardino,” Ponce said outside the court.”

    Of course, I don’t expect you to publish this post, as you didn’t publish it the first time I sent it.

    Sidney- this is the first time you ever posted this, and I will be glad to.

    few things
    1. how about those factual errors you were referring to? I would certainly be glad to correct anything I have stated as fact that you can support as non-factual as I always have.
    2. You used the word “evidence”. I was correcting you because it is 4000 pages of discovery at this juncture. Nothing is evidence until it is submitted to and accepted by the court as such under the CA rules of criminal procedure. It is not a technical term, but it is a legal one. CA uses the term “criminal rules” but it is interchangeable with process and procedure (adopted 2007).

    In fact, the defense motion for continuance was for further discovery- and as such defendant waved his right for a prelim in 10 days (post arraingment) and no more than 60 days past 1/30/15.

    Here ya go:

    3. I linked to an article with the title that there was a change of venue- that is also a legal term so someone should tell the author, lol. It is a change in hearing location and therefore entirely different- does not require motions or approval of the parties by stipulation (absent some unknown reason).

    4. Welcome to BOC


  44. Chelsea Hoffman says:

    I’m a paralegal for a criminal defense attorney (I promise you I’m no where near this particular case), and i’m not certain what you mean by “looking for co-chairs and financing”.

    Do you mean he needs an attorney to sit second chair?

    Thanks for calling me out for a more in-depth explanation. Sometimes I just assume everyone is on my mental page, lol. My bad.

    This will be a capital case- and I am told Merritt is expected to file for indigent status. Under CA law, Ponce must qualify to represent Merritt as first chair (lead counsel) and must have what is technically called associate counsel but for all intent and purpose in private retention is called “2nd chair”, so you are correct.

    If his indigency status is accepted, the Judge must approve his counsel as “qualified”. Ponce has been in criminal practice and litigation long enough, but I don’t know if he meets the other criteria for violent felony litigation and other certifications or CLE’s. Title 4 is pretty specific for lead counsel.

    The financing I am referring to is to the high profile variety, possibly pro bono, possibly media-funded, he is shopping around for that. Worked for Jose Baez.

    ETA this is Chelsea

  45. Sidney says:


    Thank you for the clarification. Not to get overly argumentative, but in criminal law discovery and evidence are the same thing. That’s why cases can be overturned on a habeas corpus appeal. For example, the Michael Morton case recently overturned in Texas–where not only was the defendant exonerated but the prosecutor was jailed for misconduct for NOT turning over evidence. As this case demonstrates, evidence does not have to be deemed admissible to be legally viable evidence.

    Please read the following explanation by way of Criminal dot COM website.

    Criminal Law: Right to Evidence Disclosure

    A defendant who’s charged with committing a crime must plan a defense for trial. In order to plan the best defense, he may need to know certain information that’s in the hands of the government. The defendant has the legal right to have access to many types of evidence before trial.

    The process of obtaining relevant information that’s held by the other party is called discovery. There are certain types of information that the government must legally disclose to the defendant upon his request. However, there are certain types of information that doesn’t need to be legally disclosed.

    Procedures for Obtaining Evidence

    Once the defendant is charged with a crime, the court sets the time for when a request for discovery can be made. The defendant can then make a formal request, called a motion, for information. The government must then disclose the information requested by the defendant.

    The government has a continuing duty to disclose evidence after a request for disclosure has been made. It must promptly disclose additional evidence whenever it discovers it, even during trial.

    Evidence that Must Be Disclosed

    Courts usually allow the discovery process to be very broad. The disclosure of evidence helps the defendant make informed decision….

    Sidney- I can tell you are new here, however, have read absolutely none of my work and I am pretty sure I have been succinct in my responses to you.

    You are either not reading them or you are a troll. I am a private practice criminal analyst, law student with a Masters in Criminology- you have to be kidding me with that link. Contribute to the discussion or move on please, not about me.

  46. Sidney says:

    Sidney- you are a troll and I could give a rats bippy what you think and as I suspected your intent here is to disrupt or attack me personally.

    I asked you 3 separate times to name a factual error and you could not.

  47. Chelsea Hoffman says:

    “Chelsea”- you are not even good at being a troll- you know that?
    Worse at research and basic criminal law. Worse-er at trying to post via a proxy when you don’t know what software I have to strip it.

    My best advice to you is to stop pandering to people that want nothing to do with you and realize there are some professionals that never, ever post anything on the web they cannot back up in court. That would be me. And if you had any skills to figure that out on your own you would not be trying to hide your “hat” multiple times” or trying to surf as someone else.

    Do you really think that any of your activity is in any way supportive or constructive to a quadruple homicide that includes two babies?
    My best and most heartfelt advice to you in 2015 is to get a psych evaluation to include a neuroscientist consult- I highly recommend Dr. James Fallon.


  48. Rose says:
    anyone who deactivates, activates, deactivates & so on, in circular dramas,
    is unstable by definition,
    whether for spousal needs, other environmental stressors, or internal psychology.

    Oh he is a special brand of neurotaffy.
    My new word I made up, lol.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment