San Bernardino County Sheriff s Department
June 30, 2015 11:45 AM

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office will seek the death penalty against the man charged with murdering a family of four.

Charles “Chase” Merritt was arrested last November and charged with four counts of murder in connection with the deaths of Joseph McStay, 40, his wife, Summer, 43, and their sons, 4-year-old Gianni and 3-year-old Joseph.

The family’s bodies were discovered in shallow graves in the California desert three years after they went missing in 2010.

District Attorney Mike Ramos filed a notice Monday saying he’d seek the death penalty in the case, according to KTLA.

Merritt, who is representing himself in the case, maintains his innocence and has pleaded not guilty to all four murders.

Joseph McStay’s father Patrick told PEOPLE last year that he has a theory about why his son and his family were killed. “It’s all about money,” he said. “That’s what I believe.”

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