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California Man Convicted of Murdering 6-Year-Old Aiden Leos in Road Rage Incident

Marcus Anthony Eriz will be sentenced on April 12

GOFUNDME Aiden Leos
GOFUNDME Aiden Leos

Marcus Anthony Eriz has been found guilty in the death of a 6-year-old boy following a road rage incident.

On Thursday, a jury convicted the 26-year-old Costa Mesa, Calif. resident of one felony count of second-degree murder, one felony count of shooting into an occupied vehicle, and two felony enhancements of the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury and death.

Eriz faces a maximum sentence of 40 years to life in state prison when he is sentenced on April 12.

The victim, Aiden Leos, was riding in a vehicle with his mother Joanna Cloonan on May 21, 2021, when another vehicle, driven by Eriz’s girlfriend, Wynne Lee, cut the family off along the 55 freeway.

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After Cloonan made a hand gesture, Eriz fired into her vehicle, striking Leos.

“The heartbreak of a parent losing a child is so overwhelming that no word exists to describe it,” Orange County district attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement on Thursday.

“The short, happy life of Aiden Leos is a life interrupted, abruptly ended by a bullet that pierced Aiden’s heart. The bullet not only killed a little 6-year-old boy; it ripped a hole in the heart of all of Orange County. Six-year-old boys should be playing outside in the sunshine, soaking in all the magic and wonder that is boyhood, not lying dead in a tiny, child-size coffin because a man he never met decided to execute him for no conceivable reason. While we will never know what Aiden would have become, we know that the pursuit of justice did not end until his killer was captured and this child murderer was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

GOFUNDME Aiden Leos
GOFUNDME Aiden Leos

According to a press release shared by the district attorney’s office, the fatal incident occurred “just after 8 a.m.” as the child was sitting in the back seat of his mother’s car “following a road rage incident. Leos was on his way to kindergarten at Calvary Chapel in Yorba Linda.”

Leos’ mother testified at trial that moments before her child was struck, she had flipped the driver of the Volkswagen SportWagen off after the driver cut her off.

The boy died at a hospital in Orange.

Per Los Angeles’ ABC 7, when Eriz took the stand, he had no explanation as to why he fired the weapon at Cloonan’s vehicle.

"I don't have an answer. Because I'm stupid. I didn't think of anything. I didn't think of the consequences or anyone,” he said.

Marcus Anthony Eriz, Wynne Lee
Marcus Anthony Eriz, Wynne Lee

On Wednesday, his defense attorney Randall Bethune denied his client’s intent to harm Leos.

"There is no evidence whatsoever that Mr. Eriz even knew a child was in the car. Mr. Eriz acted rashly that day. He made a split decision act," Bethune said. "This is a voluntary manslaughter case. Mr. Eriz is not a murderer."

Orange County prosecutors did not agree.

"There can be no greater example of callous, cold-hearted, disregard for human life than firing at someone over a gesture, from a moving car as they drove away," senior deputy district attorney Dan Feldman said.

Lee, who has been charged with accessory after the fact and having a firearm in a vehicle, has a pretrial hearing scheduled for Feb. 9.

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