A jury in San Bernardino found Charles "Chase" Merritt guilty of murdering a family of four in Southern California Monday.
In 2010, the McStay family disappeared from their home in San Diego, leaving popcorn uneaten in their house and no sign that an attacker had forced his way in. The family's disappearance mystified authorities for years until 2013, when the bodies of Joseph and Summer McStay were found along with their two sons buried in the desert in Victorville, more than 100 miles away from their home. Merritt was arrested in 2014 after police traced his cellphone to the burial area. Police also say Merritt referred to his former business partner in the past tense during an interview with investigators.
Prosecutors say Merritt was a disgruntled business partner who killed the family using a sledgehammer.
The jury, which deliberated for about a week, also found special circumstances, meaning the 62-year-old Merritt will be eligible for the death penalty. The sentencing phase is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. Jurors will reportedly decide on whether Merritt will get the death penalty.