SBSW 14 1595 10/20/2014

This warrant, issued to Detective Joseph Steers, allows for search and siezure of a broad range of places and items.  The home where Merritt was living with his current girlfriend and her daughter is allowed to be searched. As are all 4 vehicles present at the home. And a large array of items can be taken.

SBSW-14-1595 Probable Cause Affadavit 10:20:2014

Items Steers was looking for:

SW 1595 Items to be seized (SledgeHammer)

Items seized:

SBSW-14-1595-Warrant Return Part 1

SBSW-14-1595-Warrant Return Part 2

Charles Ray Merritt’s Book:

SW 1595 Merritt's Book

37 Comments

  1. The other thing I find interesting is that some warrants claim Chase was going to be fired. Some don’t. I wonder if there is question about that.

  2. Does it bother anyone else that investigators still don’t seem to know WHERE Merritt was when he wrote checks on Joey’s Custom account?

    Merritt admits to writing the checks. I don’t get why he doesn’t seem to have told LE WHERE he did this? Or on what computer.

    It’s driving me nuts.

  3. If Chase didn’t actually kill the family, if he can show he didn’t want them kllled only robbed, would he then avoid the death penalty?

    1. Anon 6:43—Nope. Even if Merritt didn’t actually kill the family, but only took part in actions that resulted in their murders, he can be charged just the same as those actually responsible for the acts of murder.

      California has this little thing called the Felony Murder Rule (if you caught my rant regarding CA death row inmate Rickie Lee Fowler you’ll know what I’m referring to)

      “felony murder doctrine. n. a rule of criminal statutes that any death which occurs during the commission of a felony is first degree murder, and all participants in that felony or attempted felony can be charged with and found guilty of murder.”

      So if Merritt was in amy way complicit in the crime against the McStays that resulted in their murder, he’s as guilty in the eyes of the law as the person/s who bludgeoned them to death.

      The only way he could “slip” out of a DP verdict at this point is if he were to turn state’s evidence and get a plea deal. But I doubt the DA would go for it.

      1. So lets say that Merritt was egged on by someone to misuse his access to Joey’s QB. And this same person convinced Merritt that they could maybe perpetrate a home invasion and by way of this access all the account info. But something goes wrong. Someone is killed and now the plan has to change.

        And let’s just say Merritt wasn’t at the McStay home the night of the murders. He was some place else, writing a check to himself. Even if he wasn’t present when things went wrong, he was taking part in a felony and conspiracy to commit a felony, so he would still be complicit in murder.

        I believe he could still be tried for first degree murder.

        1. At Merritt’s age, it’s go home or bust. Because even if he were convicted on a lessor charge, he’ll likely die in prison. And then there is the man’s legacy.

          If Merritt admits he played any part in this crime, he’s looking like a real A-Hole. No way around it.

          If Merritt is guilty, he may feel he only has two options, get an acquittal, or die proclaiming his innocence.

          The crime is so heinous, to admit to any part would destroy one’s reputation completely.

  4. Here’s another call I’m going to make, I think Joey gave the password for the Custom account to Merritt when Joey changed over from excel spreadsheet to QB for that accounting.

      1. Yes. Kelly posted it on the other blog. I’ve seen that before though. I think he’s just reposting everything he’s already posted.

        But what is interesting is that it appears as if this sheet was used to tally a number of different aspects of their financial relationship, way back.

        I bet Joey didn’t think there would be any harm in giving Merritt complete access. Merritt wouldn’t have had checks to generate (as far as Joey knew). Joey would likely think he could see if there was any unauthorized activity. And I don’t think that it would have occurreed to Joey that Merritt would ever steal from him.

        If you are a scrupulously honest person, you don’t expect dishonesty in others.

        1. It was the “Contact” QB account that probably held information Joey would have wanted to keep confidential.

          The Custom account was specifically for the work Joey did with Merritt.

          The question remains, did Joey ever give Merritt permission to use that account to write checks?

          My call: NO

          Because, if you were going to give someone permission to do this, you’d take them throught the process step by step. AND you would keep your finances in order by keeping check sequence in order.

          The fact that the sequence for Merritt’s checks is all over the place makes no sense to how Joey appeared to handle his banking.

          Also, why? Why would Joey ever need for Merritt to draft his own checks.?

              1. I just copied the 2007 financials from Kelly’s post. In the review we did of Chase’s financials on the other blog what it looks like is that 2007 and 2008 were good for Chase. He’s making solid greenbacks. Enough, to where it would appear he and the girlfriend bought a house. In 2009 things begin to fall apart. The house is foreclosed on. The family is almost evicted. Whatever was going on, either with gambling or his probation violations, he’s losing traction.

                Desperate times call for desperate measures. It might be that his intial plan was simply to ask Joey for money. But when Joey said no, Chase had no option but to go to another plan.

                Here’s a spooky thought: Did Chase start stealing from Joey and either was caught or was afraid of being caught-and then did something horrible to the extreme?

                Or, was the only thing keeping Chase from killing the McStays, his uncertainty that he could steal the money. Maybe once he discovered that the check writing worked, the family’s fate was sealed???????

                Whatdya think ’bout that?

                1. And at the very moment that Chase begins to fail, Joey’s star is rising. New house. New toys. Perahps even moving on to other welders. Even between great friends, this disparity can seriously sour a friendship. If Chase and Joey were really good friends to begin with. It may be that Chase feigned the friendship in order to keep the business relationship and loans going.

                  1. But does the relationship sour to the point of an entire family being slaughtered? That’s the hard part to get my mind around. It’s so extreme.

                    1. What else could he do? He can’t steal. He’d be caught. Maybe he’s the one who was poisoning Joey. Maybe the first plan was just to get rid of Joey, when that didn’t work, he moved to plan B.

                    2. That’s just so macabre. And Merritt has zero violence in his past. I believe if Merritt did this, someone else was involved and they took the violence to the extreme.

                      But I also think Sleuth made an interesting point about the lack of any real struggle and zero attempts to call for help. The McStays had three phones. Their home had a number of exits out of which they could have escaped. There is so little disturbance in the home, it’s hard to imagine that anyone fought back against their attackers.

                      I just don’t see how the family was killed in the home (only subdued in some fashion) or that the killer/s returned to the home to clean. I think they left that home virtually untouched. Which means that the family was swept out of there very, very quickly. It was a blitz attack by someone they felt at ease with initially. There has to have been planning that went into this.

  5. It’s interesting that Steers was looking for a receipt for that Stanely Sledgehammer. Why would anyone keep something like that for more than 3 years?

    1. I find this interesting as well. This warrant is in essence a search for items that are missing in order for LE to prove the parts of their theory they can’t prove.

      This is where I feel that investigators may have been trying to get the evidence to fit their theory, rather than basing a theory on the evidence they actually had.

      1. They are also looking for the missing checks. And I agree with you, makes sense that those checks would be computer checks. This is a very intersting warrant.

        Not sure what makes Chase look more guilty, the fact he keeps mentioning a book he never produces or that he wrote in a Justin Beiber notebook.

          1. What is really interesting to me is Merritt’s book. Guilty or innocent, it’s a very intriguing concept he had going. He’s going to write this “tell-all” airing dirty linen about his “best friend”.

            He calls the book “Afraid of the Light.” Which is a decent title, actually. I think he’s taking this off of John 3:20 about evil hating light.

            It’s the Terry Pratchett quote that really turns the whole thing on it’s head.

              1. Terry Pratchett is this esoteric fantasy author, who was a little tongue and cheek about his own writing. He wrote about extremely philosophical concepts, while poking fun at the genre itself–the quote is from Reaper Man which was a bit of a take on Repo Man (the 1984 cult classic).

                So this idea about the dark always getting there first, it’s kind of a joke if you think about it.

                It’s odd to me that if you are writing about the horrific murder of people you knew, you would use a “joke” as the opening to that story.

                  1. “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”

                    1. The quote is poking fun. Because of course “the dark” gets there first. Until there is light, there can only be darkness.

                      It’s a really odd choice of quote for a book about a brutal murder.

                      It’s possible that the irony was lost on Merritt. And I can’t tell if he really knew Pratchett’s work, or just happened on the quote.

                    2. The whole thing with the book is odd. If Merritt is innocent, then perhaps it was a way of making some cash. And he may also have liked the notoriety — being interviewed, that sort of thing. It could be completely innocent.

                      However, if he is guilty, it exhibits a very cold side to this man.

                      And actually innocent or guilty, it displays a harsh irreverence to the plight of the victims.

                    3. Steers makes the point that the book may have been a means of controling the interviews. Makes a lot of sense to me.

                    4. I’ve wondered at times if Merritt might have been suffering from earlty onset dementia.

                      If he’s innocent, this might explain some of the forgetfulness and odd behavior.

                    5. Yeah. Except don’t forget the times when Chase is 100% lucid. You can’t be sort of pregnant. Or sort of forgetful.

                    6. Actually Lurk, you can be sort-of forgetfull. I’ve been around people with dementia. It is not a disease of consistency. One moment there is perfect clarity, the next there is a fog that descends.

                    7. Don’t buy it. Besides, no one from the defense has mentioned diminished incapcity as an issue in this case.

                      I think Chase remembers everything. Only the truth is easier to keep straight than lies.

                    8. On that note, here is one more Terry Pratchett quote:

                      “The truth may be out there, but the lies are inside your head.”

  6. This is one of the most comprehensive and interesting of all the SWs. I’ll be posting excerpts later on today.

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