California couple charged in alleged freeway shooting death of 6-year-old boy pleads not guilty

Orange County DA Spitzer on charges in California road rage case

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer provides insight on ‘America’s Newsroom.’

The Southern California couple charged in connection to the death of a 6-year-old boy during a road rage shooting that elicited widespread public outrage pleaded not guilty Friday.

Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, is charged with murder and shooting at an occupied vehicle stemming from the May 21 death of Aiden Leos. Wynne Lee, 23, faces the accessory charge and a charge of illegally carrying a concealed firearm.

Prosecutors allege Lee was the driver of a vehicle and Eriz was a passenger during the killing. 

An Orange County judge ordered Eriz held without bail and scheduled a hearing for bail consideration for Lee on June 25. She was originally being held on a $500,000 bond. The pair was not physically in court Friday. 

Wynne Lee, 23, and Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, have pleaded not guilty to charges related to the death of a 6-year-old boy in what authorities have called a road rage incident last month on a California freeway. 
(Orange County, CA D)

Leos was struck by gunfire while in a booster seat in the back of his mother’s car during a ride to kindergarten. The mother, Joanna Cloonan, was traveling on the 55 Freeway in Orange when she was cut off by the defendants, prosecutors said. At some point, Cloonan flipped off the other vehicle as she passed it. 

She said she then heard a loud bang, followed by her son saying, “Ow,” at which point she realized he was bleeding from his chest. Leos died a short time later at a local hospital. 

Orange County prosecutor Whitney Bokosky wrote in a court motion that after being arrested on June 6, Eriz admitted to investigators “that he was angry after being ‘flipped off’ by Ms. Cloonan, so he grabbed his loaded Glock 17 9mm and racked a round.”

The small video image of Marcus Anthony Eriz, center, is displayed on a monitor during his arraignment and bail hearing at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana, Calif. on June 8. Pictured, from left are Thomas Nocella, Deputy Alternate Defender for Wynne Lee, Whitney Bokosky, Senior Deputy District Attorney, and Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. (Leonard Ortiz/The Orange County Register via AP, Pool)

“He then rolled [down] the passenger window and took a shot at her vehicle,” Bokosky wrote Wednesday. “After shooting the victim, [Eriz and Lee] continued on to the 91 eastbound and on to work in the city of Highland.”

A week after the deadly incident, Eriz got into another road rage encounter in which he flashed a gun at a Tesla driver who called the police, prosecutors said.

Eriz said he didn’t realize Leos died until a week after the shooting when a co-worker mentioned that his vehicle resembled the one being sought by authorities in connection to the slaying, prosecutors said. He then allegedly shaved his beard and changed his hairstyle.

Aiden Leos
(Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer)

“Eriz claims that at that time, he looked on the Internet and saw the story about Aiden Leos’ death,” prosecutors wrote. “He said he ‘immediately’ knew he was responsible for the boy’s death.”

At that point, Eriz allegedly hid Lee’s car in a family member’s garage and starting driving his red truck instead. His social media accounts show him fire various types of firearms, including rifles, a shotgun and a handgun. 

The couple was arrested in Costa Mesa following a public outcry over the killing. Authorities found a gun and the vehicle believed to have been used in the shooting. Prosecutors said Eriz and Lee traveled on the same roads and past a public memorial for Leos in the days after his death. 

Fox News’ Paul Best contributed to this report. 

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