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Hearing in California family murder case delayed

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2013, file photo, residents of Victorville, Calif., and surrounding communities place crosses near the graves where the McStay family was found in Victorville, Calif. Prosecutors are expected to reveal Tuesday, May 19, 2015, the evidence that led them to Charles "Chase" Merritt, the sole suspect in the case, at a preliminary hearing. A judge previously denied a media request to unseal investigative filings and authorities have said little about the murders of Joseph McStay, 40, his wife, Summer, 43, and their sons, 4-year-old Gianni and 3-year-old Joseph Jr. (James Quigg/The Victor Valley Daily Press via AP, File)

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — A judge has postponed a preliminary hearing for a man accused in the deaths of four members of a California family who mysteriously disappeared from their home.

San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith delayed proceedings until Friday because the prosecutor was sick Tuesday and defendant Charles “Chase” Merritt may retain a defense attorney.

Merritt, who has been representing himself, also arrived at court without his case file because of a jail mix-up. He has denied the charges.

Joseph McStay, his wife and two sons vanished from their San Diego County home in 2010 and their remains were found in the desert three years later.

The preliminary hearing could reveal what prosecutors believe the motive to be.

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