Chase Merritt – the trial

At the age of 61, Charles Ray Merritt stands; or mostly sits depending on your point of view, before a jury of his peers in San Bernadino, California. Chase is on trial for the murder of the McStay family in February 2010.

Joey McStay; his wife Summer, together with their two little boys, Gianni and Joey Jnr died as a result of a series of hammer blows and who knows what other abuse. There are those who consider that the accused could not have carried out the crime alone, however there is no co-accused on trial today. Chase Merritt stands alone in the dock.

Having the gift of hindsight; evidence presented to date at the January 2019 trial, we can now include the asteroid #85585; Mjolnir – ie from Norse mythology; the Hammer of Thor.

At the time of the murders, Mjolnir was transiting in the asteroid belt at the zodiac position of 13°Sagittarius; very caught up in the symbology of ‘respect’. The asteroid for the hammer was keeping company with Narcissus, asteroid #37117. At 15°Sagittarius; Narcissus, a character from Greek mythology (a young lad who fell in love with his own reflection) is keeping company with Mjolnir; conjunct. Just one degree away at 16°Sagittarius, is the asteroid which is symbolic of murder, Ixion #28978. Together, this unholy threesome’s only interpretation from classic astrology texts, is that ‘a totally self-absorbed individual has taken up a hammer and committed murder over a matter of respect.’

With the presentation of evidence at the trial of a misappropriation of funds in the days following the murder, a financial motive becomes our focus, and so we include the asteroids – #5536 Honeycutt = desire for a bigger cut of the honeypot (eg money); Borasissi #66652 = lies we tell ourselves in order to maintain ‘happiness’. Outright bald-faced lies = Lie #26955 etc etc.

Charles Ray Merritt

The natal horoscope; the nature of the accused. This is a snapshot of the heavens on the date of of his birth. Note: birth time is unknown and so mid-range Moon placement applies. The Moon range is 12-13 degrees over any 24 hour period. I elect to use the mid-range; it’s a personal preference.

The first point to note in this birth chart, is that there are no Cardinal planets; self motivation is lacking. By nature, Chase is more likely to be reactive to circumstances around him, rather than proactive. 0°Scorpio Neptune and accompanying symbolism is the only planet in the element of Water, generating a natural and raw emotive reaction due to the opening degree of Scorpio.

Scorpio is also known as the sign of the zodiac that motivates by ‘stirring’ in order to avoid being stagnant. Neptune in this natal chart, is under tension by asteroid Lie at 0°Gemini = a disregard for consequences of lies told in relation to the shadow of Neptune; likely resulting in subversive and addictive behaviour.

The natural next step of our enquiry, once a potential gambling addiction is brought to our attention, we check the money asteroids on the date of his birth.

Asteroid Mony 19°Libra reveals the quincunx (disregard) to 20-21-22°Taurus – outcome (South Node); abuse of trust (Nessus) and personal appetite (Ceres). All of which would result in a lack of money coming into the home and family (North Node). The trio of South Node-Nessus and Ceres also mirror Ixion (murderous rage). The realm of Taurus is the natural realm of personal assets, and wealth/$. This would be Chase Merritt’s motivation, were he to commit murder. It is innate in his horoscope pattern.

12°Taurus Sun, his personal desire of what he ‘wants’ out of life, has disregard; by quincunx, with the ‘flag for lack of self-control’ – Saturn Rx, which in turn mirrors his natal mid-range 15°Gemini; Moon – his personal needs.

Asteroid Mjolnir (hammer) is conjunct Chiron 15-17°Aquarius directly mirroring by opposition to asteroid Honeycutt 16°Leo. This potential violent behaviour (use of a hammer) is driven by a fear of isolation; of being cast out of a peer group. And as it turns out, this natural drama is played out in Sagittarius; ‘respect’ for his position in the herd.

Solar Arc Progression for Chase Merritt’s horoscope.

By the time of the trial, the natal position of Chase Merritt’s Saturn Rx has progressed to 12°Aquarius, square his natal Sun at 12°Taurus plus quindecile to the North Node for the trial. The accused’s obsessive egotistical behaviour will likely be evident if he is given the opportunity.

The astrology chart for the commencement of the trial:

The trial of Charles Ray Merritt in the murder of the McStay family came up on the court list in San Bernadino, California on 7th January 2019. We generate a chart for the time and date when the recording begins and the opening statements are made from the floor of the court.

The opening statements at 9:30am is where we begin our astrology enquiry. We take a snapshot of the heavens over San Bernadino on 7th January 2019. Don’t be intimidated by my lines and curves; I’ll interpret the tension aspects – ie the likely thrust and parry as the jury (Venus) hear the evidence and rebuttals from the floor of the court.

The natural ruler of the 9th house is Jupiter and the house of higher learning. We begin our interpretation at this point in time and place.

  • In a tight orb, 0:16°Sagittarius; Venus (a peer group; eg the jury) sits free of tension from other planets. Right where we would want a jury to be in a trial chart; free of preconceived opinion.
    13:35°Sagittarius; Jupiter exact the midheaven; cusp of the 10th house. Court live coverage begins.
  • Entering the 10th house and the public realm, 20°Sagittarius; Honeycutt (a desire for a bigger slice of the pie – whatever the pie is; usually money when it comes to crime and motivation) is quincunx (disregard for consequences as a result of behaviour) to Juno-Narcissus at 21-22°Taurus (in the 3rd house of communication). Self-indulgence meets the shadow of Juno (jealousy and possessiveness).
    • Honeycutt is also square (cannot see eye to eye) with 21°Pisces AP Fortuna (destiny in relation to the trial) reveals the public may well want more of the ‘pie of evidence’ than the court is willing to provide. Time constraints…
    • 27°Sagittarius Ixion (murder flag) is quincunx 28°Aries Uranus (in the 2nd house of personal assets)  = disregard for rebellious behaviour. This tension reveals a lack of guilt by Chase Merritt in relation to the misappropriation of Joey’s assets.
      • Uranus is also under intense tension with asteroid Mony (money) 29°Libra as well as square (off-sided) with the North Node in the 5th house. Note that the 5th house is where a gambling casino would be located. This is where the denial of guilt feeds an addiction.
  • The 11th house is where a criminal behaviour would likely ‘take’, rather than give;. At 12°Capricorn Saturn (self-control/lack of) is quindecile (by obsession) the symbolism for a casino in the 5th house of entertainment; the North Node 27°Cancer.
    • 27 Capricorn Lunar South Node (the outcome for the addiction) is revealed in the mirror for all to see.
  • The 12th house; the unknown, and/or the mind. 13°Aquarius asteroid Lie is also quindecile the North Node in the 5th house. Therefore the midpoint of Saturn/Lie= the North Node.
    • This repeated focus on a gambling habit, leads me to question as to whether the accused remains in total denial of this character weakness within himself.  We shall see as the trial unfolds.
    • 17°Aquarius BML (weakest link in a chart) is exact Vesta. Vesta holds dual symbolism in this case – that which is secreted away (burial of the evidence), and also underlying illegal activity of perpetrator, or victims. There will likely be areas of the case that are not explored thoroughly.
  • Crossing the ascendant, into the 1st house; the face to the world, at 7°Pisces asteroid Martir (martyrdom) is exact Nessus (abuse of trust) – evidence revealed that will be claim to be private; exposed.
    • 21°Pisces AP Fortuna (destiny of the trial) – the jury will reach a conclusion
  • In the 2nd house; money, money money; what is mine is mine, and what is yours is mine.
    • 22-23°Aries, Alekto (intense anger/rage) is conjunct Eris (trouble and strife) – so we can expect fiery reaction,and denial. This tension is quincunx 23°Scorpio; Ceres in the 9th house – fantastical notions of personal appetite; delusion…
  • The 3rd house is the realm of communication. 21-22°Taurus Juno-Narcissus is not only under tension from Honeycutt (see above), but also quincunx Pallas (a business relationship) in the 8th house of potential endings and transformation – the jealousy within the business relationship between Chase and Joey is revealed for the public’s scrutiny.

Basically, from the astrology tension present, I would suggest that this trial exposes an individual who is deluded about the reality of his character, and likely the seriousness of the situation he is in.

Looking back across time….. Murder of the McStay family:

As with all crimes, the pattern in the heavens at the time of the crime; the Missing Persons Report in this case, when compared with the resolution of the crime; the trial, will reveal the connection between the two events; a synastry chart. There is always a cause and effect. That is the natural order, whether when a butterfly in the Amazon beats its wings, a tsunami is unleased in Japan etc..

9:39 am 15th February 2010, San Diego, California – the time when the Missing Person Report was filed.

It is the Moon at 14°Pisces opens our eyes to the personal driver/emotive desire behind the crime. Moon square the stellium of Mjolnir-Narcissus-Pholus-Ixion at 13-16°Sagittarius (the realm of opinion/respect).   We can now note the common thread between the two times; February 2010 and January 2019…. murder by hammer in the hands of a self-indulgent individual.

Note that asteroids are not in fixed positions in the heavens, they continue to orbit, just as do the planets in our solar system.

When the Moon is quincunx the Vertex of a chart, whether natal or an incident; snapshot in time and place, this is evidence of the potential for disregard of life-changing tension .  There is always a choice to act upon this tension, or not.  We are all responsible for our actions.

IIn this chart for the crime, it is when we note that both 3°Libra; Saturn and 3°Leo, Mars; both of which are retrograde, we realise that the lack of self control and actions taken are caught up in the pattern with the third malefic planet at 4°Capricorn, Pluto (God of the Underworld) together with Venus at 5°Pisces….. the need to feed an addiction is revealed (note pink lines of quincunx on the chart).  Ah the gift of hindsight….

The timing (midheaven) reveals another quincunx focus at 21°Cancer/Capricorn between 22°Aquarius, Mony (money) and 21°Sagittarius, Ceres (personal appetite). As we now know, Chase Merritt is a gambling addict, so this tension then reveals the likely motive for the murders; the primary victim; Joey’s refusal to finance the perpetrator’s addiction. Taking the ‘intent to murder’ to the extreme of killing the entire family unit will be Chase Merritt’s downfall in the eyes of the jury.

Now that we have to two charts interpreted from a similar standpoint, we combine the two charts and seek out the synastry, for a potential outcome of the trial.

The synastry of time across space…..

I’ll keep it simple and leave others to interpet the detail at will….

From the perspective of the trial, looking back to the crime, we can note that AP Fortuna (destiny) of the Missing Person Report at 21°Taurus in the heavens, mirrors by the black line with Pallas (a business partnership) at 20°Scorpio. This aspect is now exact, both conjunct and by opposition, with transiting 21°Taurus Narcissus-Juno at the time of the trial.

This reveals the predetermined ‘destiny of the crime’ aligning in the heavens with the timing of the trial.  Cause meets effect.

Back to the butterflies in the Amazon jungle…..  Is this trial evidence enough for a jury to support a death penalty result and a relocation of Charles Ray Merritt to San Quentin, we may well ask.

The court in its wisdom, will decide and Thor’s hammer will drop in the name of justice.

Links to our previous astrology enquiry of the crime:

How can a family of four just disappear? Pt.1

Just 30 minutes from the Pacific Ocean, a family of four who were living in a modern residential estate, in a cul-de-sac just disappeared in a moment of time. On the face of it, this is just bizarre.


The year is 2010. The McStay family had only bought the house a matter of weeks earlier and so an empty house and the lack of children’s laughter wasn’t immediately noticed by neighbourhood watch, although we do have one security conscious neighbour whose movement sensor video captured the McStay Isuzu Trooper’s departure on the evening of 4th February.

The family’s locked and abandoned Trooper was located four days later in San Ysidro, just two blocks from the Mexican border. This led investigators to later check surveillance video at the border crossing, which shows a family fitting the description of the McStays walking into Mexico.  Is this a clue as to the disappearance of this family, or is it a red-herring?

Meanwhile back at the house that same day; Day 4, there is much discussion within the extended family, but it is almost a week before family members enter the house.

They didn’t notice anything untoward; the house was not in any more disarray than could be expected with a family in the process of renovating and unpacking ; no more upheaval than a couple with two small children would create.

The much-loved family dogs were in the backyard; it was assumed that friends or neighbours were caring for the animals.  It wasn’t until animal welfare kicked up a ruckus a further two days later, that someone realised that all was not as it should be with this family unit and law enforcement were notified.

It is Day 15 before the police have search warrants; that missing person’s alerts are issued and the investigation goes into full swing.

We’ve all watched enough tv shows to know that this is far too long a time before action needs to be taken; the trail would have most likely gone cold; that Lady Luck was not likely to be on the side of the investigators.

It is now three years later; the clock has ticked too long in this case.  Investigation has continued and so many stones turned over that it just gets more confusing; searches have been made, theories put forward and even a book has been written on the disappearance of the McStay family. I’ve not read it.  FBI has joined the investigation, just this week and so have we.

The area of Fallbrook is proudly promoted as being well known for its gently rolling hills, lush groves, ancient oak trees, equestrian and walking trails, nature preserves, and Mediterranean climate.   We are in Southern California, just 50 miles from San Diego and an hour north of the Mexican border.

To open our books, we need timed events; so what do we know of the family’s movements on that fateful day when the clock stopped for a family of four on 4th February 2010?

  • Summer McStay (wife and mother) made her last known phone call at 2:17pm.
  • The video footage of the family vehicle leaving the driveway at 7:47pm does not reveal the occupants of the family car (camera was angled to photograph number plates, not people).
  • Joseph McStay (husband and father) made a one-minute phone call from his mobile phone to employee, Chase Merritt at 8:28pm.

We know the residential address for the McStay family and the location of a possible red herring, the missing Isuzu Trooper (recovered on 8th February).  There is no forensic evidence, that we know of, to suggest that a crime took place at the home or in Joey’s work vehicle, which remained in the driveway.

  • As to the birth data, we have dates of birth of all four missing persons.

So to begin our enquiry, we advise that astrology is a pseudo science and is not accepted in a court of law, but then we’re not in court so we can proceed, with caution and a declaration that what I write here can only be considered as opinion.  We can only ask questions and make suggestions.

This is not a case where we are going to achieve resolution in one post.  So where to cast our first chart, draw up our first map?

Joseph McStay – husband and father, made the last known contact at 8:28pm.  What happened? Where was the phone call made from?

Creating a snapshot of the heavens on that fateful night at 8:28pm at Bonsall, California, we have an event, which we can use as the basis for our enquiry into that phone call.

Rather than bringing the complete family to the table for analysis, we can base this enquiry on three sets of birth data; three charts – the natal chart for Joseph McStay (husband and father), the natal chart for Chase Merritt (recipient of the phone call) and the natal chart of one other person whom we will call a person of interest, POI.


Note: Noon birth times are the basis for the calculation of the natal charts, so the Moon can range to create tension aspects, which are not addressed here.

The forensic planets are highlighted red.

  • If we look to the event (the inner wheel) we know that the planet Mercury is conjunct the Lunar nodal axis.  Lines of communication will be cut as a result of a traumatic event. 
  • The fixed star Zavijava is at the ascendant. This is symbolic of ‘correct weight’ being called, according to Robson. We have weight for age; where to from here but the race of life and death.

Joseph McStay bi-wheel.

What was the situation that called for Joey to ring Chase Merritt at that time?

  • With the personal forensic planet of Pluto at the ascendant , we can suggest that this man will likely pay with his life for his actions here on this night.
  • Uranus is setting, conjunct the descendant with sudden changes – opposition to Joseph’s natal Pluto. He is powerless to defend himself.
  • The horizon has heralded the traumatic event for this man. Only minutes earlier the Ascendant created the tension – conjunct his natal Lunar nodal axis.
  • The Lunar nodal axis of the event; the traumatic occasion is also square to Joseph’s natal Moon (highlighted blue).  His Moon is severely afflicted with further tension.
  • Highlighted in green, Jupiter is quindecile Joseph’s Lunar nodal axis, inflating the trauma for Joseph beyond an every-day occurrence.
  • Saturn (the grim reaper) is quindecile in the heavens to his natal Moon and then the planets reverse to intensify the action.
  • The inner wheel Moon (highlighted blue) is in opposition aspect to Joseph’s natal Saturn, Father Time is highlighted in the 8th house of transformation.  This is a matter of money/payment/dues – Karmic or otherwise.
  • Neptune (turquoise) is square to Joseph’s Sun-Neptune; the core of his being.  Neptune in forensic astrology is never benign; underhandedness is at play.  His sense of reality blurs; this is not really happening.

Chase Merritt bi-wheel.

It is 8:28pm and we know that his phone is ringing. Whether he is in a position to take a phone call, we do not know.

  • Natal Jupiter (green) is at the ascendant and we know that Jupiter inflates whatever it touches.  We also know that Chase has Jupiter peregrine in his natal chart.  He does things to the extreme. We can suggest that his focus is on himself and not a phone-call from his employer.
  • The transiting Sun in the heavens is in tension with his Venus-Mercury conjunction.  This is not an ideal situation to be taking a call when he is speaking with his lady.

Provided that the birth data we have been given is accurate, I suggest that due to the lack of tension in the bi-wheel, Chase Merritt did not talk with Joseph McStay that night and is not involved in the events, which led to the disappearance of Joseph McStay and his family.

A person of interest’s bi-wheel.

Again this date of birth needs to be confirmed, however the accuracy is uncanny.

  • The natal Moon (highlighted blue) is at the ascendant.  This person is in a highly emotional/agitated state as a result of the sudden changes; changes created by Uranus transiting in the heavens at that point in time.
  • Pluto exact square Pluto; a deep sense of power is at play, jealousy, control and darkness can prevail.
  • Transiting Saturn is exact conjunct their Pluto.  Holding the power of a life in their hands is all important, power struggles between these men is uppermost on the agenda.
  • Highlighted in yellow – ‘Lines of communication will be cut as a result of a traumatic event’ result from this person’s sudden change in behaviour –  Lunar nodal axis-Mercury square natal Uranus.
  • This same transit is conjunct natal Jupiter (green) creating more fuel to the fire.
  • The Mars Rx transit is opposite natal Sun breaking any previous agreements; there is no love lost here tonight.

phonetowerradiusAlthough the mobile/cell phones of Summer and Joseph McStay have not been recovered (that we know of), those mobile/cell phones quietly pinged their location until the batteries ran out.

The phones remained either together, or close by each other less than ten miles from home, which would suggest that the family in all probability were likely to have been in the same vicinity when that 8:28pm phone call was made.

It is highly likely that the McStays met with their fate that February night less than ten miles from home. What happened after that phone call?  Did Joey ditch his phone, take his boys and head off to the Mexican border; to a new life, as some would have us believe?  Did Summer kill Joey?  And who is that POI?

This story continues…