News outlets file legal briefs seeking information in murder of - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

News outlets file legal briefs seeking information in murder of McStay family

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.  (CBS 8 ) -- News organizations have filed two legal motions seeking information in the murders of Joseph and Summer McStay and their two young sons, Gianni and Joey.

The bodies of the Fallbrook family were discovered in November 2013 buried in the desert near Victorville.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department arrested a business associate, Charles Ray Merritt, two months ago, The San Bernardino County District Attorney has charged Merritt with four counts of murder, along with special circumstances, which could make Merritt eligible for the death penalty.

No motive in the murders has been revealed. A trial date in the high-profile case has not been set.

This week, CBS News 8 -- along with 17 regional and national news organizations -- filed legal briefs in San Bernardino and San Diego, seeking public release of more than 60 search warrants served in the case since the McStay family went missing in February 2010.

San Diego County Sheriff detectives originally believed the family voluntarily crossed the border into Mexico. Sheriff Bill Gore is not opposing the unsealing of four warrants served in San Diego County.

The murder investigation was handed off to the San Bernardino County Sheriff after the McStay bodies were discovered.  It appears San Bernardino officials will oppose the unsealing of all search warrants, affidavits and return inventory records.

Merritt's criminal defense attorney did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

According to the lawsuit, “Society has a keen interest in the administration and operation of the criminal justice system, including how courts authorize search warrants, and in how law enforcement investigate deaths and criminal activity. Those interests are especially prevalent here, where an arrest was not made for nearly five years after the McStay family disappeared.”

Court officials in both counties told CBS News 8 the records were sealed and not available to the public.

Judge Runston Maino will hear the San Diego motion to unseal the warrants on January 23.

Judge Michael Smith will hear arguments on the San Bernardino motion on January 30.

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