3 people dead; 3 people charged with murder
Investigators say there’s a connection between the killing and burning of two men in Ingot, and a body found in the back of a burning truck near Millville.
33-year-old Joshua Reid McCormick and 32-year-old Rebecca June Wilson are charged with murdering two people in Ingot October, 2013.
Both McCormick and Wilson are eligible for the death penalty if their charges are enhanced.
In a connected case, McCormick and 32-year-old Byron Lee Willis are charged with killing another man in Redding, back in November, 2013.
The man they are accused of killing, 31-year-old Eric Richard Ratledge, was present at the first murder in Ingot, according to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office.
Shasta County investigators said McCormick and Wilson shot and killed 65-year-old Thomas James Burton and 57-year-old Michael Cass Forsyth on Oct. 25, 2013 in Ingot, then put their bodies in a home they later set on fire.
Both men were killed with a shotgun stolen from the property.
Shasta County Sheriff’s Department Captain John Hubbard said McCormick admitted to being the trigger-man.
“In interviewing Joshua McCormick, he admitted he was the trigger-man, [using] a shotgun he stole from the premises,” said Hubbard.
Hubbard also said that the reason Forsyth was killed was because McCormick said “he could identify him.”
The incident was classified as a robbery, with a number of traceable items missing from the property.
Eric Ratledge was there, and witnessed the whole thing.
Less than two weeks later, Sunday, Nov. 3, around 7 a.m.; CAL FIRE responds to reports of a grass fire on the 8800 block of Bass Pond Drive in Millville.
There firefighters found a pickup truck engulfed in flames. While extinguishing the fire, they found human remains later identified as Ratledge.
Ratledge was shot at least once and determined to be the victim of homicide.
While detectives followed up on leads surrounding Ratledge’s death, they found stolen property from the home in Ingot where the two men were murdered.
The stolen property was found at homes and in the possession of people who frequently associated with Ratledge.
The Shasta County Major Crimes Unit found a connection.
They also found that Ratledge was at a home on the 3800 block of Rancho Road just hours before his death.
A home associated with Josh McCormick and Byron Willis.
On Nov. 26, 2013, McCormick was arrested by detectives on outstanding warrants.
Willis was arrested almost a month later, on Dec. 18, 2013, on unrelated charges at his home.
While both Willis and McCormick stayed in jail, McCormick’s then-girlfriend Rebecca Wilson was arrested in connection with the double-murder in Ingot.
All three gave statements about their knowledge and involvement in both the double-murder in Ingot and the death of Eric Ratledge.
“Through the interview with McCormick and Wilson, they both admitted to their involvement in Eric Ratledge’s death, and also identified a person named Byron Willis,” said Capt. Hubbard.
“It appears there was some kind of problems between Mr. Willis, Mr. Ratledge, and Mr. McCormick,” added Hubbard.
Tuesday, all three were arraigned for different charges in the respective homicides; all three pleaded not guilty.
The preliminary hearing for all three was set for March 4.
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