An Orange County Superior Court judge on Friday, June 18, revoked the bail of the man accused of fatally shooting a 6-year-old boy on the 55 Freeway in Orange last month while postponing the consideration of reducing the $500,000 bail of the suspected driver until her background is investigated and her mental health evaluated.
His bail had been $2 million.
Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, and Wynne Lee, 23, both pleaded not guilty to the charges they face through their attorneys.
Her attorney said her bail amount for the crimes she is accused of is excessively high and he wants it drastically lowered. The judge will again consider her bail on Friday, June 25.
Eriz has been charged with murder and shooting into an inhabited vehicle in the May 21 shooting along the northbound 55. Lee has been charged with being an accessory after the fact and a misdemeanor count of concealing a firearm inside a vehicle.
Though Eriz’s attorney, Randy Berthune, said Eriz didn’t intend on posting bail, Orange County Superior Court Judge Larry Yellin revoked it, noting Eriz’s behavior after the allegations that he discovered his shot killed Aiden, including hiding the car and the gun and changing his appearance.
“The court finds it very alarming,” the judge said. “It seems to me that Mr. Eriz is a complete danger to the community, to society.”
The morning hearing in Santa Ana was the second time Eriz, 24, and Lee, 23, appeared in the courtroom virtually, as the pair are in a mandatory 14-day quarantine at the county jail. During a previous hearing, they appeared virtually from separate jail facilities in front of Yellin.
Lee’s parents, who attended the hearing, declined to comment.
Friday’s hearing comes on the heels of prosecutors filing court papers this week that offered their most detailed narrative yet for what they say occurred before, during and after the shooting of Aiden Leos. Eriz is charged with murder and firing into an occupied car, while Lee is charged with being an accessory after the fact and storing a concealed firearm in a vehicle.
On May 21, Leos’ mother, Joanna Cloonan was driving the boy to kindergarten around 8 a.m. when her Chevrolet Sonic was cut off and nearly hit by a Volkswagen Golf Sportswagen driven by Lee, according to prosecutors. Lee made a peace sign gesture toward Cloonan, prosecutors said, but the mother remained angry and when Cloonan changed lanes near Chapman Avenue in Orange she put up her middle finger while passing the Volkswagen.
The mother then heard a “loud bang,” followed by her son saying “Ow” from his booster seat in the rear of the Chevrolet, according to the court filing. Within the hour, Aiden was dead from a chest wound.
Prosecutors say that after the shooting Eriz and Lee continued the drive to their job in Highland, where they worked before returning home to Costa Mesa. They continued the routine the following week, prosecutors said, at one point getting into a second “altercation” on the 91 Freeway when Eriz is accused of flashing a gun at another driver.
Eriz later told investigators that it wasn’t until May 28 that he learned of Leos’ death, prosecutors said, when he read an online article after a co-worker remarked that the Volkswagen he traveled in looked like a vehicle police were searching for. During that same interview, Eriz told investigators that he immediately “knew he was responsible for the boy’s death” and “told (Lee) about his revelation,” prosecutors said.
Prosecutors allege that Eriz hid the Volkswagen in a relative’s garage, and he and Lee began taking Eriz’s truck to work. Eriz shaved his beard, began wearing his long hair tied back, and, along with Lee, applied for new jobs, prosecutors added.
It isn’t clear exactly what landed Eriz and Lee on law enforcement’s radar. But the couple were taken into custody on June 6 at their Costa Mesa apartment. Officers reported recovering both the car and the gun.
The arrest came a day after Leos’ memorial service and the day before his burial.
In charging Eriz with murder, prosecutors plan to argue a “depraved heart theory” in which he acted with such reckless disregard that he should have known he was creating an unusually high risk of death to another person.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
Source: Orange County Register