Tony Shin

Mother Provides Emotional Testimony in McStay Family Murder Trial

Jurors in San Bernardino heard emotional testimony from the mother of Joseph McStay in the McStay family murder trial family Tuesday.

In court, Susan Blake described her interactions with Charles "Chase" Merritt, who is accused of killing the family of four and burying their bodies in the high desert.

As you can imagine, this has been heartbreaking for the mother.

On Tuesday, she told jurors about the moment she found out her family was gone.

"Obviously, the hardest thing, my son had to tell me that they found them in the desert," Blake said in court.

Blake requested that only her voice be recorded.

The mother of Joseph McStay talked about the emotional moments in November of 2013, when her other son Mike told her that Joseph, his wife summer and their two young sons Gianna and Joseph Jr. were located north of Victorville, buried in two shallow graves. 


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"He told me that they found their bodies and they were dead, all of them," Blake said.

Blake also talked about the days before and after her son and his family mysteriously disappeared from their North San Diego County home in February of 2010.

She told jurors about Joseph McStay's business associate, who is accused of the murders. Blake said he was the first one to alert her that no one could get a hold of Joseph.

She also claimed that she asked Merritt to help spread the word about the missing family members, but he quote "refused."

Prosecutors allege Merritt killed the McStays because he was embezzling thousands of dollars from Joseph McStays custom fountain business. Blake says during the months following the disappearance, Merritt constantly tried to get money from Joseph McStay's business account to complete jobs.

At times, Blake claimed, Merritt was aggressive and combative.

"He asked for funds to keep the business going, at the time, I would do anything to help my son. I'm probably not in my right mind anyways at that time."

Blake told jurors that she gave Merritt more than five thousand dollars to complete jobs in the months after the family went missing.

Investigators say Merritt was paid $17,000 by a customer after work had been completed on a job.

Blake said Merritt promised to pay her back the money he borrowed, but she never received any money.

The trial continues Wednesday with jurors expected to hear testimony from Mike McStay, Joseph McStay's brother.

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