Girlfriend of gunman who killed 6-year-old boy in road rage shooting on California freeway pleads guilty


A Costa Mesa woman whose boyfriend shot and killed 6-year-old Aiden Leos during a 2021 road rage confrontation on a busy Orange County freeway pleaded guilty Friday, April 26 to being an accessory after the fact, but due to credit for time already served will not spend any more time in custody.

Wynne Lee, 26, was sentenced to four years in prison moments after pleading guilty to the accessory count, a felony, as well as a misdemeanor count of carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle. But she was given more than four years worth of credit for time served awaiting trial and for good behavior.

Lee has been out on bail under GPS monitoring since shortly after her arrest. Under state law, defendants on court-ordered home confinement accrue the same credit for time served and for good behavior as those who remain in local lockup pending trial.

It was not a plea deal negotiated with prosecutors, but a plea Lee made directly to the court. Orange County Superior Court Judge Richard M. King made clear that Lee, prior to making her plea, had been offered no promises about what her sentence would be. The four-year sentence the judge handed down was the maximum available by law.

This undated photo provided by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office shows Wynne Lee, 23, was arrested in connection with a road rage shooting that killed a 6-year-old boy last month on a Southern California freeway.(Orange County District Attorney’s Office via AP) 

Lee, speaking in a soft voice, confirmed to the judge that she understood what she was admitting and the rights she was giving up. She did not give a formal statement prior to her sentencing. Both Lee and her attorney declined to comment after the hearing.

With no further time in custody, in home confinement or on parole or probation, Lee’s electronic monitoring was formally ended by the judge at the close of Friday’s hearing.

As part of her plea, Lee admitted to helping Marcus Eriz, her live-in boyfriend, evade arrest despite knowing Eriz was responsible for the death of Aiden. She also acknowledged allowing a firearm — owned by Eriz — to be concealed in a vehicle she had control over.

Judge King noted that Aiden’s death was a crime of great violence, involving a victim who was particularly vulnerable and greatly impacting the boy’s mother. But, he also acknowledged that Lee had no past criminal record.

Aiden’s mother was not present for the plea or sentencing. No one spoke to the court on behalf of either Aiden or Lee.

Lee’s driving during a busy morning commute on the 55 Freeway set in motion the confrontation that resulted in Aiden’s violent death.

Lee and Eriz were in Lee’s Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen, on their way from their Costa Mesa apartment to the Highland auto-repair shop they worked at. Aiden’s mother, Joanna Cloonan, was taking her son from their Costa Mesa home to Calvary Chapel Pre-School in Yorba Linda.

Lee sped up behind Cloonan’s Chevrolet Sonic in the carpool lane, abruptly moved past Cloonan’s car and then jumped immediately back into the carpool lane, cutting Cloonan off and brake-checking her.

A “peace sign” Lee flashed at Cloonan did little to calm the mother’s anger, and as Cloonan began merging away from the Sportwagen in order to exit the freeway, Cloonan flashed her middle finger.

Cloonan later testified to seeing Eriz, who was sitting in the passenger seat beside Lee, smile. Moments later, the mother heard a loud noise and Aiden, who was sitting in a booster seat behind her, exclaimed “Ow!” Looking back, the mother saw Aiden’s head hanging down.

A single gunshot fired by Eriz had ripped through the trunk of Cloonan’s car, entered Aiden’s back, traveled through his liver and lung, pierced his heart and then exited his right abdomen. The mother screamed, “Aiden, Aiden, Aiden!” as he lay dying in her arms on the side of the freeway.

The massive manhunt to find Aiden’s killer, and the vehicle the fatal shot was fired from, stretched on for more than two weeks.

Marcus Eriz, right, the gunman who shot and killed 6-year-old Aiden Leos during a road rage confrontation on the 55 freeway in Orange in 2021, sits in Orange County Superior Court prior to Judge Richard M. King sentencing him to 40 years to life in state prison, in Santa Ana on Friday, April 12, 2024. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG, pool)
Marcus Eriz, right, the gunman who shot and killed 6-year-old Aiden Leos during a road rage confrontation on the 55 freeway in Orange in 2021, sits in Orange County Superior Court prior to Judge Richard M. King sentencing him to 40 years to life in state prison, in Santa Ana on Friday, April 12, 2024. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG, pool) 

As daily commuters passed under banners draped under overpasses reading “Who shot Aiden?” California Highway Patrol investigators and other law enforcement officers fanned out door to door at businesses along the 55 Freeway, looking for footage from security cameras facing the roadway. Meanwhile, the reward for finding those responsible for Aiden’s death grew to $500,000.

Lee and Eriz continued their daily commute from Costa Mesa to Highland during the manhunt, though they later began using Eriz’s red pickup rather than the Sportwagen.

Looking at the trim and tires of a suspect vehicle caught in surveillance footage and comparing it to DMV records, investigators narrowed their search down to several dozen specific cars, including the one driven by Lee and owned by her parents. A tipster also reached out to authorities, telling them that Lee and Eriz had been driving in a vehicle matching the description.



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