MURRIETA – A drug user accused of killing his 71-year-old grandmother in her Murrieta home and then dumping her remains in an unknown location must stand trial on a murder charge , a judge ruled today.
Kyle Roger McLean, 22, could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted in the July 2013 death of Catherine Sutton.
Following a three-day preliminary hearing at the Southwest Justice Center, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Angel Bermudez found there was sufficient evidence to bound the defendant over for trial on charges of first- degree murder and committing a felony while on bail.
Bermudez scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment in the case for March 7 and left the defendant’s bail at $1 million. McLean is being held at the Southwest Detention Center.
Last September, a friend of the defendant, 19-year-old Neal Michael Erickson, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact, as well as misdemeanor vandalism. He served around half of a nine-month jail term and is now on felony probation.
Erickson, who was among the first witnesses to testify during McLean’s hearing, alleged that he had seen the victim’s body stuffed in the back of the defendant’s car.
According to Erickson, he played no part in the murder and had nothing to do with disposing of Sutton’s remains. The witness told Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Garcia that McLean asked to meet him, and when the two got together on July 11, McLean opened the trunk of his car and showed him the lifeless woman.
According to Erickson, it was the same day that the two men had been arrested for graffiti vandalism, which occurred outside Sutton’s two-story house at 27618 Graystone Lane. The witness testified that McLean believed his grandmother had called the police on them.
Erickson admitted accompanying McLean to purchase bleach and other products to clean up the house, but he refused to do anything hands-on.
According to the witness, he was under the influence of drugs much of the time. He said he did not ask how or where McLean dumped the remains.
According to investigators, McLean had his own room at Sutton’s house. Murrieta police officers went to the location to check on her after one of her daughters — McLean’s aunt — reported her missing on July 14.
Officers found blood smears and other evidence of foul play, according to police.
An undisclosed quantity of methamphetamine was seized from McLean’s bedroom, where investigators also allegedly found the victim’s credit cards.
According to court records, McLean was arrested June 24 for allegedly being in possession of controlled substances and drug paraphernalia. He was free on bond at the time of his arrest for murder.