What are Aiden Leos shooters Marcus Eriz and Wynne Lee's charges?
Marcus Eriz was charged with murder in the road rage killing of 6-year-old Aiden Leos, while girlfriend Wynne Lee was charged with being an accessory
ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, who shot six-year-old Aiden Leos is facing a murder charge, the Orange County District Attorney confirmed. Bail has been set at $2 million for Eriz and at $500,000 for his girlfriend Wynne Lee, 23. The duo made a brief court appearance on Tuesday, June 8, as the judge pushed their arrangement to June 18.
The duo was caught after a week-long manhunt following the deadly shooting of Aiden, on the 55 freeway near Chapman in the city of Orange on May 21. They were eventually tracked down to a house in Costa Mesa, after ditching their car. The shooting is just one of the many recent cases of gun violence to rock the US. In April, three-year-old Elijah La France was shot at a birthday party in Miami-Dade, Florida. In early June, an 18-year-old student in New Jersey was shot and killed at an athletic field in Maplewood, Essex County.
According to reports, Eriz is believed to be responsible for the shooting while Lee was driving the Volkswagen Golf that belonged to her parents. A contentious hearing followed on June 8, with Eriz's lawyer arguing that proceedings shouldn't be streamed on YouTube. Here's what we know about the charges.
What have Eriz and Lee been charged with?
Eriz, as the shooter, is currently facing a murder charge. Unlike other counties, Orange County does not differentiate between first-degree (intent to kill) and second-degree (other kinds of premeditated murder) murder. Hence, Eriz is facing a felony murder charge. He has also been charged with the discharge of a gun, with enhancements for causing death. If convicted on all counts, Eriz faces a prison sentence of 40 years to life.
Lee, on the other hand, has been charged with accessory after the fact and concealing a firearm. Initially, prosecutors planned to charge her as well with murder but decided to pursue lesser charges. "We all agreed that with respect to Ms. Lee, the evidence supported a filing of her behavior after the weapon was fired, but not with respect to conduct leading to that event," DA Todd Spizer told the press. Lee's charges carry a three-year sentence in state prison, and one year in County jail. During a June 8 press conference, Spitzer said prosecutors did not have what they felt was sufficient evidence to support a murder charge against Lee. He said prosecutors “have to analyze evidence with respect to the conduct of each individual,” and “based on our review of the evidence, we did not believe we could also file murder against her at this time.”
Both Eriz and Lee made a brief appearance on June 8, where the judge agreed to the increased bail amount. Initially, Eriz was held on a $1 million bail. During that hearing, Eriz's lawyer tried to ban the YouTube live stream of the hearing. He said that the "unprecedented global interest" in the case could endanger Eriz. However, that request was shot down by Judge Larry Yellin, who said, "We're not treating Mr. Eriz any differently."
The reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspects has surpassed $500,000. So far there’s been no word on what will happen with the reward however Spitzer said at least one tip did assist in the arrests, and “there will certainly be an argument for reward money.” He noted that the reward is contingent on a conviction, not just an arrest, so a final determination will wait until the case plays out in court.
At the hearing, the judge also pushed back the duo's arrangement to June 18. It is unclear why that decision was taken. Prior to the hearing, Spizer also urged the public not to hound the couple's families. "I'm asking you to leave those people alone. They are not being looked at as criminals," he said. Eriz is a noted gun fanatic, having posted numerous images on Instagram with multiple weapons, including an AR-15 which is banned in California.