(714) 997-4400
Charles “Chase” Merritt, 58, the defendant in a high-profile murder case in Southern California, continues to vacillate between defending himself and hiring an attorney.

Merritt stands accused of killing a San Diego County family in 2010 and then burying their bodies in the Mojave Desert. The bodies were found in November 2013 and Merritt was not arrested until late 2014.

Since then, Merritt has had five different attorneys and twice claimed to represent himself.

On Thursday, Merritt told a judge that he had changed his mind again—he no longer wished to represent himself and he planned to hire a defense team. The judge continued the matter until February 25, at which time Merritt will have to report to the court his plans for legal representation.

Merritt is suspected of killing a family of four from Fallbrook, including their two young children. It is reported that one of the victims, Joseph McStay, and Merritt were business associates and that Merritt impermissibly used McStay’s business account to write himself checks.

A preliminary hearing to determine probable cause has already been held in this matter. Once the issue of Merritt’s legal representation has been resolved, the case will proceed in the San Bernardino Superior Court. 

Criminal charges are very serious matters that carry profound punishments and produce far-reaching collateral consequences. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, it is critical to retain proper legal representation to protect your rights and liberty.

Ronald G. Brower is a criminal defense attorney in Southern California with over three decades of experience. Attorney Brower has successfully represented people accused of all types of crimes, including murder.

Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower at 714-997-4400 or online.

You may also like