Charles Merritt Found Guilty in the Murders of the McStay Family

Charles Ray Merritt, 61, was found guilty on Monday in the murders of his 40-year-old business partner Joseph McStay, McStay’s 43-year-old wife Summer, and the couple’s sons, Gianni, 4, and, Joseph Jr., 3.

Prosecutor Britt Imes told jurors in closing arguments last Tuesday that the defendant killed the victims over money. Joseph McStay had billed Merritt for over $42,000. Prosecutors claim Merritt murdered the family, and buried them in two shallow graves in the Mojave Desert. These killings were brutal, with the defendant beating the children repeatedly, said Imes.

Prosecutors pointed to a CNN interview in which Merritt claimed to be the last person to see Joseph McStay alive.

The defendant’s team tried to pin the murders on another business associate, Dan Kavanaugh. Prosecutors insisted that this man was in Hawaii.

[Image via San Diego County Sheriff’s Office]

More Stories About This Trial


  1. Mediaite
  2. The Mary Sue
  3. RunwayRiot
  4. Law & Crime
  5. Gossip Cop
  6. AmboTV