Catherine Sutton's body has never been found, but on Monday, a Riverside County jury agreed that her grandson killed her.
After deliberating for two hours, the jury convicted Kyle Roger McLean, 23, of first-degree murder. He faces 32 years to life in prison.
McLean admitted to killing his 71-year-old grandmother on July 11, 2013, testifying that he "snapped" after she had provoked him, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Jennifer Garcia, who prosecuted the case.
Calling it an "out-of-body experience," McLean said that after he pushed her down, the pair struggled, and he choked her but didn't mean to kill her, Garcia said.
Afterward, he stowed Sutton's body in the trunk of her car for four days, then partied in her Murrieta home, where he had been living while coping with his meth addiction, Garcia said. He also withdrew cash from her bank account and forged checks in her name.
With her money, he bought a tarp, a machete, cleaning supplies and a 50-gallon bin that he admitted to stuffing her body in, Garcia said. Surveillance footage from a nearby Wal-Mart confirmed his purchase of the bin.
At first, McLean said he didn't remember where he dumped her body, then said that he pushed her remains off a cliff in Yucaipa. On the witness stand, he vowed to tell his family where the remains were -- but told prosecutors he'd never "give her" to them.
"It was a just verdict," said Garcia, who is asking anyone with information about Sutton's remains to contact the Riverside County district attorney's office at (951) 304-5588.
"It's unsettling that she's still out there, and I'd like the family to have some closure," Garcia said.
McLean is scheduled to be sentenced by a Riverside County judge April 10.