Man found guilty of killing parents, young sons in 2010; bodies found in 2013 in California

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- Charles "Chase" Merritt was found guilty of murder in the killing of a family of four, who disappeared in 2010 and were later discovered three years later near Victorville.

After a trial that spanned more than four months, Merritt was found guilty in the killing of the McStay family in 2010. The 62-year-old Merritt had pleaded not guilty to charges he murdered his business partner, Joseph McStay, his wife Summer, and the couple's four and three-year-old sons.

Merritt was found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder. The jury also found the special circumstance of multiple murders. Prosecutors have said they would seek the death penalty if Merritt was convicted. The penalty phase of the trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday.

The family vanished from their home in 2010.

The remains of the family were discovered in two shallow graves in 2013 near Victorville. Merritt was arrested a year later.

The prosecution believes Merritt murdered the family because he was being cut out of McStay's water-feature business and that he was also stealing money from the business - which McStay discovered.

A verdict was reached Friday by jurors, but it was not announced publicly until Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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