Jurors reach penalty decision in quadruple murder trial

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — Jurors have reached a decision on whether to recommend a death sentence for a Southern California man convicted of killing a family of four and burying their bodies in shallow desert graves.

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office says the jury’s recommendation will be read in court at 3:45 p.m. Monday.

Charles “Chase” Merritt was convicted this month of the murders of his former business associate Joseph McStay, McStay’s wife, Summer, and the couple’s 4- and 3-year-old sons.

The case puzzled investigators for years after the family vanished from their San Diego County home in 2010. Their bodies were found in 2013.

Merritt pleaded not guilty. His lawyers didn’t offer witnesses during the trial’s penalty phase, insisting he’s not guilty.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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