For a quarter of a century, David Lee Merriott’s family kept the secret. And it was murder. Some protected it, authorities say, and others were so anguished they confided in a pastor. The secret was that in 1981 Merriott allegedly peppered an East San Jose house with bullets, reports the San Jose Mercury News. One killed a grandmother named Oler Walker.
Earlier this year, the mystery began to unravel. An East Bay officer gleaned the first indication Merriott was a murder suspect from an obscure court document. From there, two San Jose homicide detectives meticulously pieced together a case that alleges Merriott was the shooter. Merriott, now 47, was charged last month with murder and faces life in prison. And in a reminder of the danger of keeping such secrets, Merriott’s 73-year-old mother, Dorothy Merriott, has been charged as an accessory. The Mercury News details how the secret was revealed.