Kyle Roger McLean, 22, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing, according to DA Spokesman John Hall. McLean is accused of killing his 71-year-old grandmother, whose body has never been found.
"At the preliminary hearing for McLean, which is expected to last several days, a judge will determine if there is enough evidence for the defendant to stand trial," Hall said, adding that if the case does go to trial and McLean is convicted as now charged— he faces 25 years to life behind bars.
Catherine Sutton was reported missing July 14, 2013 by a family member; her grandson, then 21-year-old Kyle Roger McLean, of Murrieta and an accomplice, 18-year-old Neil Michael Erickson, of Wildomar were arrested July 15 in connection with her disappearance.
Within hours of responding to Sutton’s Graystone Lane home to check on her welfare, Murrieta police had suspected foul play. A search for her body ensued and was focused in Southern California, Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad said at the time.
“Our search for Ms. Sutton was discontinued after we exhausted any leads we had [regarding] her whereabouts,” Conrad said in an emailed response to Patch.
Police said the family member who reported Sutton missing had called out of concern after realizing she had not heard from or seen her since July 11. The relative told police that when she stopped by Sutton’s home it smelled of bleach and there were fans running.
Forensic technicians with the California Department of Justice were among the slew of law enforcement that conducted a day-long investigation at the home on Graystone Lane, a cul de sac off of Whitewood Road just east of Interstate 215.
“Based on the evidence in this case, including evidence collected at the possible crime scene at her Murrieta home, it is believed that Sutton has been murdered,” Riverside County District Attorney's Office Spokesman John Hall said when criminal charges were filed against Erickson and McLean.
In July 2013, the Wildomar man arrested with McLean, pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder. Neil Michael Erickson was sentenced on Sept. 6, 2013, to 270 days in custody and five years of formal probation, according to Hall.
—Patch Editor Maggie Avants contributed to this report.