MURRIETA (CBSLA.com) — An 18-year-old man pleaded guilty Wednesday to being an accessory to his friend’s grandmother’s murder.
Neil Michael Erickson of Wildomar confessed to helping his friend Kyle Roger McLean cover up the murder of McLean’s 71-year-old grandmother.
Catherine Sutton was reported missing from her Murrieta home on July 14th after her daughter said she was unable to reach her for several days.
McLean often stayed with Sutton. Her body has not been found but police say evidence found inside the home says the woman was murdered. (Reporting for CBS2 on July 19, Stacey Butler said surveillance video showed the men coming out of a Walmart with bleach, machetes, gloves and beer. Officials also told her that blood, mixed with bleach, was found in the suspect’s room.)
Erickson was arrested July 15.
During a bail-setting hearing before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Mark Mandio, Erickson dropped a not guilty plea he previously entered. He made his plea directly to the judge, without any negotiations between the defense and prosecution.
Mandio left the defendant’s bail at $500,000 and scheduled a sentencing hearing for Sept. 6. Erickson faces three years behind bars. He is currently being held at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.
Meantime, McLean appeared before Mandio today for a felony settlement conference, which was postponed to Aug. 27. McLean is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Murrieta jail.
“The decision to arrest the suspects was based on our interviews with them, the scene of the crime and evidence located at the scene,” Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad told City News Service last week.
According to court records, McLean was arrested on 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.