Steve DiGioia

Young Man on Trial for Killing 6-Year-Old Aiden Leos

The trial is finally progressing in Santa Ana for the man accused of killing the 6-year-old Aiden Leos.

Marcus Anthony Eriz, 26, was accused of killing Aiden Leos in a road rage shooting in Orange County.

He is facing charges of second-degree murder and shooting an occupied vehicle along with using a firearm that caused severe injury and death in the shooting that happened on May 21, 2021.

The Shooting 

It happened while Aiden Leos was sitting in the backseat while his mother was driving on the 55 Freeway near Chapman Avenue in Orange.

Joanna Cloonan, the mother, was taking him to his kindergarten class at Calvary Chapel Academy in Yorba Linda.

While Eriz was with his girlfriend Wynne Lee, as she was driving the two in the carpool lane of the freeway. Lee had switched lanes as she came back to the carpool lane, that was when she cut off Cloonan’s car and gave the peace sign according to the prosecutors.

Cloonan took it as a challenge and sped past Lee’s car and raised her middle finger after a few miles. This triggered Eriz as he admitted firing his gun at the back of her car.

The mother watched her son die on the side of the freeway which had gripped the people with the question “Who shot Aiden.” Finally, after nearly two and a half years, the gunman is on trial for the murder.

The prosecutors and the defense presented each side one accusing the suspect and the other defending him by calling it a mistake and a rash decision.

The Statements

Daniel Feldman, Senior Deputy District Attorney, said during his opening statement that Eriz had admitted to shooting at the car as he was annoyed by Cloonan’s behaviour after the investigators questioned him. He called the shooting “senseless.”

The mother had later told the police that a bullet went straight into Aiden’s back and pierced his heart, cited by the prosecutor in the statement.

Her call to 911 was also played in the court where the hyperventilating mother was begging the receiver who was not able to understand what she was saying.

The Investigation

With the help of a driver, the investigators were able to get the description and a photo of Lee’s Volkswagen, and the search carried on for 2 weeks.

The car was traced to Lee’s parents which revealed they commuted daily. On June 6, the couple was arrested at their Costa Mesa home.

The prosecution also added that Eriz had shot when he saw her car speeding past theirs and shot for “some reason.”

The defence attorney, Randall Bethune said that he had not had a past conflict with the victims. The shooting was without any thought of consequence, result or malice.

The prosecutors said the evidence was “overwhelming” and it was clear who shot whom as the suspect had admitted to his crime. Also, there was no reason to defend the criminal when he shot at a stranger plainly because he was pissed off by the middle finger.

Nothing would change the fact that his action injured the mother and killed Aiden not even if he regrets it later, said Feldman.

Lee is currently facing charges of being complicit in the crime but the trial has not been scheduled yet.

A driver who had witnessed the crime and the off-duty police officer who gave the boy CPR both testified for the crime on Thursday and Cloonan would testify next week according to Feldman.


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