June 14, 2021

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Murder and ancillary charges against suspects in the murder of a 6-year-old boy on the California highway

A Southern California couple were charged Tuesday in connection with the anger death of 6-year-old Aiden Leos last month, with the man accused of murder.

Prosecutors in Orange County, California, accused Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, of murder and shooting an occupied vehicle. It also faces sentencing improvements. Eriz’s girlfriend Wynne Lee, 23, was accused of being an accomplice after the incident and illegally carrying a concealed firearm.

“As for the charges against both of them, I am absolutely convinced that they are rock solid,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said.

Tuesday’s indictment of the couple was postponed until June 18, and a judge set their bail at $ 2 million for Eriz and $ 500,000 for Lee pending hearing. Eriz could risk 40 years of life in prison if convicted on all fronts. Lee faces up to three years in prison and one year in the county jail.

Eriz and Lee were arrested Sunday after a week of searching for suspects in the boy’s murder on a Southern California highway. Aiden was fatally shot on May 21 on State Route 55 in Orange, southeast of Los Angeles, while his mother was taking him to kindergarten.

Child dies after Southern California. street shooting

A 6-year-old boy sitting in the back seat of his mother’s car on a Southern California highway was fatally shot by another driver on Friday, authorities said. A California Highway Patrol officer said it was an apparent road rage incident. (May 21)


Authorities said they believed Lee was driving and Eriz fired the shot that killed the boy.

According to the boy’s mother, Joanna Cloonan, and those who stopped to help her, Cloonan waved at a vehicle that interrupted her, which then passed behind her, and someone fired into the vehicle. Cloonan. Aiden, who was sitting in the back seat, was shot in the abdomen and pronounced dead in a nearby hospital.

The case stunned the region and made national news.

“It could have happened to any of us. We all drive the freeways in Southern California, “Spitzer said Monday.” We all got mad at other drivers; other drivers got mad at us. I threw some gestures at myself. But it never came to a point. violent situation, and certainly not in my kingdom or in your kingdom at the loss of a life. ”

More information on the Aiden Leos case: Two arrests in connection with the death of a 6-year-old boy in a street shooting

Chief of California traffic police assistant Don Goodbrand said on Monday authorities recovered the weapon used in the attack and the vehicle in which the suspects were traveling, a white Volkswagen Golf SportWagen.

Police appealed to the public for information on the case and offered a reward of up to $ 500,000, and Goodbrand said authorities received several helpful tips for the investigation. It is unclear whether anyone will receive a cash reward or how much. Goodbrand declined to answer questions about the reward.

The Los Angeles Times reported that investigators identified the couple after receiving a tip and improving the vehicle’s license plate image. They also found that they both went to work in the Inland Empire region of Southern California and were in the shooting area when it happened.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Eriz and Lee had lawyers. They were held in Orange County Jail on $ 1 million bail.

“The joy he brought into our lives was insurmountable”: The mother praises the 6-year-old boy killed in an alleged street shooting

Capt. Mike Harris said Monday that he spoke to Aiden’s mother about the arrests.

“I recorded it in FaceTime,” he said. “I let her know what happened. It was very emotional. “

Cloonan had called for justice at a memorial service for his son the day before the arrests. He said Aiden has brought “insurmountable” joy into his life.

“Even if it won’t bring you back into our arms,” ​​he said, “it angers me that such a precious and beautiful soul did not have the opportunity to go on to become a young man and start a family one day while realizing. the desires of his heart ”.

Contributors: Steven Vargas, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

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