Thursday, June 18, 2015

Statement Analysis in McStay Court Case

Prosecutors say a sledgehammer was used to kill all four members of the McStay family, and the 4-year-old boy was struck seven times.

Family members of the victims were emotional in court during the preliminary hearing Monday.

The murder suspect, Charles "Chase" Merritt, was present in court, wearing a gray shirt and pattern tie that was delivered to him by his family.

Merritt is accused of killing his former business associate, Joseph McStay, McStay's wife Summer, and their two small children on Feb. 4, 2010.

At that time, no one knew what happened to the family. They were living at Fallbrook and simply listed as missing.

In November of 2013, almost four years later, a motorcycle rider found two shallow grave sites in the desert, just north of Victorville.

The grave sites were the main discussion in court. Detectives with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department described in detail what they found, describing the remains of four bodies, groups of bones, including ribs and parts of legs from two adults and two children.

Investigators also found a three-pound sledgehammer, which they believe was the murder weapon, and clothing, some of it marked with the same color paint that the McStay family had been using to paint their home when they went missing.

The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. There were at least four impacts to the skull of Joseph McStay, and at least seven impacts to 4-year-old Gianni.

The skeletal remains of Joseph McStay were found with a cutoff extension cord wrapped around the neck, and the rest of the body wrapped in a white towel, all of it secured by a tie-down strap.

Merritt has said there is no direct evidence linking him to the crime scene.

There is reportedly a DNA match that links Merritt to the McStay vehicle, which was found in San Ysidro near the U.S.-Mexico border. Merritt's DNA was found on the steering wheel and gearshift, even though Merritt told detectives he had never driven that vehicle.

Detectives said when they interviewed Merritt about the missing family, he referred to them in the past tense, saying Joseph McStay "was my best friend."

Witnesses also testified that Merritt cashed checks written from Joseph McStay's business account days after McStay and his family vanished. Witnesses say those checks were backdated to the last day the family was seen.

San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith ruled Monday afternoon that there is sufficient evidence for Merritt to stand trial.


trustmeigetit said...

So disturbing. They suffered.

I really struggled with Chase as the murderer, mainly because of the brothers odd reactions and well the comment about finding the bodies in 2 sallow graves.

I still have to wonder if he assisted.

But knowing that Chases DNA was on the steering wheel and gearshift when he stated he had never been in the car really changed my view point. I also had not know about the past tense language.

So awful what that poor family must have endured.

Tania Cadogan said...

Darn those past tenses.

I too have suspicions about the brother, whether he was/is involved.

It was too much of a coincidence that he described the grave site and contents before they were found.

I wonder if chase will say anything in court?

trustmeigetit said...

I am still not sold that Michael was not involved. All SA has done is now make me wonder if they were in it together.

And check out this link. At the top....2 photos (click on the links to enlarge).

Both Chase and Michael in holes in the ground similar to those the family was found in.... Michael McStay is shown with the tattoo on his arm he got AFTER his brother disappeared and BEFORE the graves were discovered... next to the hole.... A sledgehammer... The family was killed with a sledgehammer and it was found near the graves. To me, this photo is just too much of a coincidence....

Then add in his big smile....while his brother is missing. And well, they both clearly had had the equipment to dig a large hole. That is no simple task. I had to dig a small hole in our desert yard for a plant and it was so hard. The ground is harder in warmer climates and just the effort needed for that one small hole was almost too much and again this was a plant. When I then imagine digging holes large enough for 4 bodies. I cannot fathom doing this alone or without equipment....Chase and Michael clearly had the tools/equipment to dig those holes. Sure a person could do it, but I cannot imagine how long that would take. And if you just committed a murder, I would think you would be in a hurry. Or this could have been very well planned out.

Anyways, the link...

And some interesting bits of information about Michael. Who knows how accurate they are, but those photos... eery..

trustmeigetit said...

I somehow posted the wrong link above for the photos.

Here's just the photos

trustmeigetit said...

There is a part of the timeline I really wonder about....

4:25 p.m.: Outgoing call from home phone to Joseph's cell, which pings from Fallbrook tower. This is the last outgoing call from the home phone.

5 p.m. and 5:47 p.m.: Text messages between Joseph and Summer's cellphones. The pings for the calls show they were near Highway 76 in Bonsall which is 7 miles from their home in Fallbrook

7:47 p.m.: A neighbor's security surveillance video catches the Isuzu leaving the street. Only the bottom portion of vehicle is visible; occupants cannot be seen.

8:28 p.m.: Joseph calls an employee in Rancho Cucamonga and discusses work. One site said he cellphone pings off a Fallbrook tower, another says it pings off of the tower in Bonsall.
One would assume that a call from home to Joseph's cell was Summer. The call pinged to Josephs cell in Fallbrook meaning he was very close to home or at home.

Then between 5 and 5:47 their phones both pinged about 7 miles from the home.

ODD. Both would leave the home and drive in the same direction and text each other from the same area? Not impossible but odd.

I think we have something major at this time occurring and the texts could have been done by the murderers.

Also, that 8:28 pm text, some reports say Joseph's call to Chase pinged off the Fallbrook Tower near his home but I also read that the case was on E Investigates and they said there that the pings were actually off the Bonsall tower again.

This would lead me to believe yet again, the murderers may have done this to mislead the investigation.

That it was not actually Joseph that called Chase but was rather part of the plan to make it appear that way. Thus giving Chase his alibi.

Just interesting. And there were no further pings on Josephs phone

Summers phone continued to ping for 2 days near that tower by the bridge with the final pings on the other side of the river on an adjacent tower.

I think they were killed near that bridge.

Unknown said...

Just when I thought this story couldn't get any more horrifying! How could anyone bludgeon a 4yo with a sledgehammer? It sickens me to think about what this family went though, and I hope everyone involved is brought to justice.

I'm glad to hear the Pros had some solid evidence linking Merritt to the vehicle, but the brother Michael McStay is not off the hook in my book! His behavior and language are too bizarre to dimiss!

-He removed money from his brother Joseph's bank account starting just days after they 'disappeared'.

-He took over use of his brother's vehicle, and then sold it weeks after they went 'missing'.

-He intercepted payments from his brother's business and deposited them to his own personal account in the weeks after their disappearance.

-He obtained a fraudulent loan for over 60k, by claiming to be the owner of his brother's business.

-He repeatedly broke in to his brother's house, and took items such as their computer, their digital camera, SD cards, etc...all evidence that he was eventually forced to return to LE. He did this during the ELEVEN DAYS he waited before calling in the police, after 'finding' the family's dogs hungry and abandoned, and the family missing, with their home left in disarray. (Refrigerated groceries out on the counter, food on the couch, etc.)

-He was NOT the executor of his brother's estate, yet even before his brother/and family were confirmed to be dead, he liquidated their belongings, and flat out stole items from their home.

All of this, along with his comments about how he fears he is looking for his brother, sister in law, and nephews, in "two adult graves"....which would turn out to be a startling accurate prediction, do not paint a picture of innocence, or devoted brother. Instead, he seems like a vulture who couldn't even wait until other's caught on that Joseph was gone to start taking his money and belongings to benefit himself.

(Joseph and Michael's own father has made it known he questions Michael's involvement, and posted a lengthy list of questions noting the evolution of Michael's story through the years, and his actions regarding Joseph's accounts, and property.)

trustmeigetit said...

I agree Jen. Red flags. But the San Diego police didn't seem concerned that HannAh Anderson posted "goodbye Hollywood hello river" before she was "kidnapped" and taken to the river. Didn't care she said she feared for her life if she tried to get away then in that same interview says Jim was signaling for help. Big red flags and they made it clear she was "innocent".
I don't think they are looking at the brother. But the should be.

Did you also see the photo link above?

Anonymous said...

I agree TurstmeIgetit, Jen and others. Yes, red flags all over the place that should implicate brother Michael but so far haven't. I just don't get it, he appears more guilty than Merritt does. Initially Merritt's big give away was in his statement where he said "I was the last one to see them alive" or words to this affect. How could he know this if he wasn't there when they died?

Just like Hannah Anderson and her many red flags that went ignored, and still are, so Michael walks free as a bird when he should be booked under suspicion and Hannah Anderson should also be a suspect in her mother & brother's gruesome deaths, as well as the dog; also for setting up simple minded love-struck James DiMaggio to take the fall for sneaky, lying, user hot pants Lolita. Wonder how she's faring these days with user daddy Anderson? Betcha all is not well on the home front.

Unknown said...

I did see the photo, and it's eerie!

trustmeigetit said...

Anon... I would not be shocked if there is another murder in Hannah's future. Maybe daddy.

I also get tired of everyone defending her based only on her age. While kids her age kill other kids, kill parents etc. it's not like she's 5. She was 16.

I just do not understand LE anymore.

It's like they are blind.

Anonymous said...

I wish we knew more about the life of Hannah Anderson's mother, but so little has been said about her. For all we know she may have been a super good mother and a caring woman, perhaps trying to stop Hannah in her whorish conning and trickery of James DiMaggio.

She might have been going through the tortures of the damned in trying to deal with and please her rotten precious spoiled little Hannah. God knows what this woman might have been going through with her daughter but I guess we'll never know.