McStay killings: Documents show suspect owed victim money

Former business partner of McStay family goes to trial
mcstay family killing preliminary hearing pkg_00003901

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Former business partner of McStay family goes to trial 01:35

Story highlights

  • Joseph and Summer McStaty and sons Gianni, 4, and Joseph Jr., 3, were buried in shallow graves near Los Angeles
  • Charles "Chase" Merritt, a former business partner of Joseph, is accused of killing them
  • He has pleaded not guilty

(CNN)Joseph McStay had loaned his accused killer $30,000 and planned to fire him, according to documents released Wednesday.

Charles "Chase" Merritt is accused in the 2010 deaths of Joseph and Summer McStay and their two young boys.
Merritt has pleaded not guilty. He was a former business partner of Joseph McStay, who sold outdoor water displays over the Internet.
    The newly released documents show that investigators spoke with Dan Kavanaugh, another partner in the business. He told them Joseph McStay had loaned Merritt $30,000 to pay a gambling debt, and that McStay had planned to fire Merritt.
    Investigators with the San Diego County Sheriff's Office also spoke to Merritt on several occasions, the documents show.
    He told them he did not like Summer McStay, nor Kavanaugh, and said: "If I were ever going to commit murder, it would be him," meaning Kavanaugh.
    McStay: It's like a boulder falling on me
    McStay: It's like a boulder falling on me

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    McStay: It's like a boulder falling on me 00:11
    Merritt had a fresh injury on his hand, which he claimed he cut on sheet metal.
    And although Merritt denied he'd ever driven the family's Isuzu Trooper, his DNA was found on the steering wheel and gear shift. The truck was found abandoned near the Mexican border soon after the family disappeared.
    Their skeletal remains were discovered in November 2013.
    Joseph, Summer and their sons Gianni, 4, and Joseph Jr., 3, were bludgeoned to death with a sledgehammer and buried in shallow graves in the high desert outside Victorville, northeast of Los Angeles.
    The documents show that Merritt had a sister who lived only a few miles from where the McStays were found.
    A judge determined last month there was sufficient evidence to try Merritt.
    Hear what McStay suspect told CNN
    Hear what McStay suspect told CNN

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    Hear what McStay suspect told CNN 02:10
    Before his arrest, he spoke to the media about his relationship with the McStays and professed his innocence.
    "I am definitely the last person (Joseph McStay) saw," Merritt told CNN's Randi Kaye.