I had not heard of it, and after nearly a decade it is in the news because Chase Merritt has been convicted.
Patrick McStay has called the San Diego County Sheriff corrupt. I have never been a sleuth and for me it is not about that. I do not know how you can do it if the people in charge are corrupt.
This kind of thing, if I spend a day watching and reading about it, eats at me. There is much more to write, but I want to stop thinking about it. Here are my 5 takeaways.
- Chase Merritt is a lifelong criminal and con artist. He also has 3 kids and a welding and fountain-making skill, like an average father and breadwinner. This is an American Greed case without lavishness. Merritt should have been a clear suspect to everyone. He is a classic psychopath and sociopath and a danger to those around him. He is one of those people, rare as a murder but more common in the general population (that is why I do it), who can kill, steal, or lie and lie right to a camera about it. “I am definitely the last person who saw them,” he said to CNN and the world.
- Corruption in San Diego County is a harsh takeaway but I argue it is an appropriate conclusion. The house is here. I guess Fallbrook does not have a police department. I would go so far as they let it happen and then failed to do anything about it. The whole “blame it on Mexico” thing is ridiculous; if you did not find them in Mexico they are not in Mexico.
- It was not paradise at the beach in sunny California. Bankruptcy, divorce, lots of lawsuits, and both Charles “Chase” Merrit and Dan Kavanaugh pecking like vultures. No health insurance, 401K, or other benefits as well as two kids in a $215/week apartment for 5 years. Notice the counties not mentioned–Los Angeles and Orange–but it is still Southern California and it is not inexpensive. Summer (not her real name) could be attractive and a bit of a princess, was career-less, and formerly lived with Vick “I was a Marine and know how to kill” Johansen ; Joey was an awfully good guy who worked with waterfalls and wanted a family. In 2010 they were not having money problems. They bought a house and they had money in the bank, but it was not paradise.
- The entire trial is on Law & Crime and the videos are on YouTube, but it is surprising there is not more. Dateline, 20/20, and the biggies have not covered it. The CNN doc, updated with the arrest is excellent. Another great vid is Les something, yet another victim from a person who had to be stopped. As a blogger Cornelius is awfully good and he has the following, although not all that many hits, to prove it.
- Everyone was fooled including Joey’s father, in that even after the bodies were found he still did not suspect Merritt. And Joey’s brother went with Merritt as the first persons to enter the house after the murders. It is obvious Merritt is a danger to those around him. I think San Diego County should have charged him even without the bodies because the whole thing would not have been prosecuted if not for the motorcyclist. Others came forward too despite the professionals paid to solve it, but the motorcyclist’s tip is what did it. Perhaps it is fast, but congrats to San Bernadino County for providing public safety less than a year later.