Bail revoked for Costa Mesa man suspected of road rage killing of 6-year-old Aiden Leos
Bail was revoked Friday morning in the case of Marcus Anthony Eriz, who is suspected of murdering 6-year-old Aiden Leos in what prosecutors described as a road rage incident last month.
At a hearing at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana, Orange County Superior Court Judge Larry Yellin described Eriz, 24, as a “complete danger to the community” and said there was evidence that showed a substantial likelihood of a threat to the public if Eriz were to be released.
Eriz was initially held on a bail of $2 million, which his attorney indicated he had no intention of posting.
Eriz is charged with murder and discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle. He is also charged with two additional felony enhancements of discharging a firearm and causing great bodily injury or death and faces 40 years to life in state prison if convicted on all counts. He was arrested, along with his getaway driver Wynne Lee, 23, at their Costa Mesa home on June 6.
Lee is charged with being an accessory to the crime after the fact and of having a concealed firearm in a vehicle. If convicted on all charges, she will be facing a maximum of three years in state prison and one year in Orange County prison.
The two pleaded not guilty to all charges.
In a court filing Wednesday, prosecutors said the couple were heading to work in the HOV lane of the 55 freeway at about 8 a.m. May 21 when they approached a Chevrolet Sonic, driven by Joanna Cloonan, who was taking her son to kindergarten.
Court documents then say that Lee maneuvered her Volkswagen Golf SportWagen into the left lane, then cut off Cloonan’s vehicle by speeding into the HOV lane at what prosecutors describe as an extremely high rate of speed.
As she did so, Lee is said to have gestured to Cloonan with a “peace sign” as she continued driving.
After a few miles, Cloonan exited the lane and made her way to the left lane to merge onto the 91 Freeway. She passed the SportWagen and raised her middle finger. Eventually, she heard a loud bang to the rear of her vehicle and heard Aiden say “ow.”
In court documents, prosecutors said that Eriz told police that he was angry at being “flipped off” by Cloonan and, so, he took his Glock 17 9-millimeter pistol, prepared it, then rolled down his passenger window and fired. Cloonan then pulled over and took her dying son into her arms as bystanders called for an ambulance. Lee and Eriz continued on the 91 Freeway to Highland for work.
Aiden Leos was declared dead at 8:39 a.m. at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
His death sparked huge community support with hundreds of thousands pouring in to support his family and to help find and arrest the suspects involved in his murder.
Court documents said another incident occurred with Eriz and Lee in the week following Aiden’s death, when a driver of a blue Tesla did something that made Eriz angry.
Prosecutors allege that Eriz, again, took out his gun and brandished it to the driver of the Tesla. Before driving away, the driver of the Tesla told Lee and Eriz that he called the police.
“Eriz is an extreme danger to the community,” the documents say. “He has shown that he cannot control his temper and he goes to extremes in the snap of a finger when he is angered.”
“The very minor act on the part of Ms. Cloonan of showing him her middle finger resulted in him using deadly force against her and her son,” prosecutors said.
Yellin said Friday the additional details revealed by prosecutors were “very alarming.”
“The crime in it of itself is murder. It’s the highest crime that could be committed,” said Yellin. “It was committed … [against] an innocent victim, a random victim, and that increases the concern of danger to the community.”
According to the documents, Eriz was approached by a co-worker on May 28, who mentioned that the car they took looked like the one that law enforcement officials were looking for. Eriz told officers that he then proceeded to look online about Aiden Leos’ death and knew “immediately” that he was responsible.
He then hid the vehicle in a family member’s garage and the two began taking Eriz’s red truck to and from work. The two applied for another job and, on June 3, prosecutors said, Eriz shaved his beard and began wearing his long hair pulled back.
Yellin postponed a decision on Lee’s bail to next Friday, currently set at $500,000, and requested additional information on her. Lee’s defense attorney, assistant public defender Andrew Nechaev, requested that her bail be no greater than $50,000 in light of her lack of criminal background and to match what would typically be bail for her charges — a request that prosecutors balked at.
Prosecutors Friday contended that Lee may not be as dangerous as co-defendant Eriz, but that she was still dangerous and negligent for allowing him to continue being a passenger in her car after the fact.
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