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Prosecutors in trial on McStay family murder want jurors to view CNN interview defendant gave before his arrest

Teri Figueroa, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in News & Features

Months before he was arrested on suspicion of murder in 2014, Charles "Chase" Merritt told a CNN reporter that he was "definitely the last person" Joseph McStay saw.

Now, jurors hearing the case that will decide whether Merritt killed McStay and his family may be allowed to see that television interview for themselves.

Last week, San Bernardino, Calif., Superior Court Judge Michael Smith gave prosecutors approval to play the recording for the panel, as long as prosecutors can get someone on the stand to authenticate it as a true representation of the interview.

Merritt, 61, is charged with killing business partner McStay, 40; McStay's wife Summer, 43; and the couple's sons, Gianni, 4, and Joey Jr., 3.

The Fallbrook family disappeared in February 2010, their whereabouts a mystery.

In November 2013, a dirt biker happened across a child's skull during a ride in the desert outside Victorville, not far from Interstate 15.

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It was Joey Jr.'s remains. The bones of the rest of the McStay family were found in graves near where the skull was found -- more than 100 miles from the family's home.

A year later, in November 2014, San Bernardino County sheriff's detectives arrested Merritt. Prosecutors there charged him with four counts of murder.

Merritt -- who has described Joseph McStay as his best friend --pleaded not guilty and remained jailed in the four years it took to get the case to trial.

McStay sold indoor water features and often hired Merritt, a welder, to make them. On Feb. 4, 2010, the two men had lunch in Rancho Cucamonga to discuss upcoming projects. It's the last known sighting of Joseph McStay.

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