Suspects Plead Not Guilty in Aiden Leos Shooting – NBC Los Angeles

on Jun18
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The man and woman charged in the freeway shooting death of 6-year-old Aiden Leos in Orange County have pleaded not guilty.

Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, and Wynne Lee, 23, were arraigned on Friday, when a pre-trial hearing was set for Aug. 27.

Eriz is charged with murder and a felony count of discharge of a firearm at an inhabited dwelling, with sentencing enhancements for discharge of a firearm causing death. He faces up to 40 years to life in prison if convicted at trial.

Lee is charged with a felony count of being an accessory after the fact and a misdemeanor count of having a concealed firearm in a vehicle. Lee faces up to four years behind bars if convicted at trial of all charges. Three of those years would be prison and one in jail. 

Prosecutors also were expected to ask for a change in the bail amounts Friday at the arraignment. Orange County Superior Court Judge Larry Yellin will consider a bail of $500,000 for Lee and $2 million for Eriz.

They are charged in the shooting of 6-yaer-old Aiden Leos, who was struck by gunfire while in the back seat of his mother’s car on the 55 Freeway in Orange. Aiden was headed to kindergarten when his mother heard him say, “Ow.”

He had been struck by a round that entered through the car’s trunk. 

His mother, Joanna Cloonan, was cut off by the defendants, who were in a Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen, according to prosecutors.  Lee was behind Cloonan in the diamond lane before swinging over to the fast lane and then accelerating to get in front of Cloonan, prosecutors said in a motion regarding bail filed Wednesday.

“Wynne Lee motioned to the victim vehicle a `peace sign’ with her hand and continued driving,” prosecutors said in the motion for higher bail.

A boy walks near a makeshift memorial on the Walnut Avenue overpass of the 55 Freeway in Orange May 27, 2021. The memorial featured balloons, toys, cards, messages of love and candles to remember a 6-year-old boy who was shot and killed Friday during an apparent road rage incident on the 55 Freeway. New banners have been placed on the overpass as officials and community continue to increase the reward for arrest of the killer and accomplice. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

A few miles later as Cloonan was attempting to merge over to the Riverside (91) Freeway east she passed the defendants. She raised her middle finger at the two as she passed, prosecutors said.

“She then heard a loud bang to the rear of her vehicle and heard her little boy in the backseat say, `Ow,’ ” prosecutors said.

He later died at Children’s Hospital Orange County.

In an interview with investigators on June 6, Eriz said he was angry after being ‘flipped off’ by Cloonan, so he grabbed his loaded Glock 17 9mm and racked a round, according to the motion.

He then rolled the passenger window down and took a shot at her vehicle, prosecutors said. After shooting the victim, the defendants continued on to the 91 Freeway into the city of Highland.

They worked a full day and then returned home, prosecutors said. 

During the week of May 24-28, the two got into another altercation on Southern California freeway, according to prosecutors. 

On May 28, a co-worker told Eriz that it looked like their car was the suspect vehicle police were seeking, prosecutors said.  Eriz claimed he looked on the internet and saw the

story about Aiden Leos’ death, prosecutors said.

In court papers filed this week, prosecutors offered a timeline of the suspects’ actions in the following days. 

Prosecutors allege that after May 28 Eriz hid the Volkswagen at a family member’s garage and did not drive it again, instead driving his red truck to and from work.

Prosecutors argue that Eriz is an “extreme danger to the community” who has shown that he cannot control his temper. He also has multiple firearms, according to prosecutors, but they said taking his guns away would not deter the defendant from using another weapon.

Lee is also a danger to the public because she knew Eriz had his loaded gun in her vehicle and never pulled over to check on Cloonan following the shooting, prosecutors argued. She also failed to call 911,’ prosecutors said.

The two were also considered risks to flee prosecution, prosecutors argued.

Both defendants were originally being held on $1 million bail, but Yellin tentatively increased Eriz’s bail to $2 million, and dropped Lee’s bail to $500,000.

Those bail amounts, which were requested by prosecutors, will remain in place until Friday’s arraignment, when attorneys will present their arguments to keep the bails at $2 million and $500,000.

Bail could potentially be reduced further for Lee, who was originally booked on suspicion of murder but was only charged with being an accessory, Yellin said.

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