After a trial that spanned more than four months, the 62-year-old Merritt was found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder in the killings of Joseph McStay, his wife Summer, and the couple's young sons. The jury decided the punishment for three of the four counts to be death. The fourth count, for the killing of Joseph McStay, will be life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The family of four vanished from their home in 2010. Their remains were found in shallow graves near Victorville three years later. Merritt was arrested a year later.
The prosecution believes Merritt murdered the family because he was being cut out of McStay's water-feature business and that he was also stealing money from the business - which McStay discovered.