Accomplice in shooting death of 6-year-old Aidan Leos pleads guilty, sentenced to time served

SANTA ANA, CA - JUNE 07: Wynne Lee, 23, was taken into custody at home in Costa Mesa on Sunday. 6-year-old Aiden Leos was shot to death on the 55 Freeway in Orange last month in what officials have called a road rage incident.
Wynne Lee, the driver in the shooting death of 6-year-old Aiden Leos on the 55 Freeway in Orange County, pleaded guilty to related charges in court on April 26. (Orange County District Attorney's Office)

The Costa Mesa woman driving the car involved in the road-rage shooting that killed 6-year-old Aidan Leos pleaded guilty Friday morning to being an accessory to the boy’s killing.

She won’t spend any time in prison, however.

Wynne Lee, 26, was driving on an Orange County freeway on the morning of May 26, 2021, when her then-boyfriend, Marcus Eriz, fired a single shot into a car driven by Aidan's mother, Joanna Cloonan, who was taking the boy to kindergarten. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

On Friday, Lee pleaded guilty in a Santa Ana courthouse to one felony count of accessory after the fact and one misdemeanor count of having a concealed firearm in the vehicle. Superior Court Judge Richard King gave her the maximum sentence: three years behind bars for the felony, one year for the misdemeanor.

She won’t be incarcerated, however, because she had already spent nearly three years on court-ordered home confinement and GPS monitoring. She was initially arrested along with Eriz, 27, on June 6.

By the state's count, that gave her more than five and a half years in credit for time served, essentially fulfilling her sentence.

Lee’s sentencing left the Orange County District Attorney seething.

Read more: Man who killed 6-year-old in freeway shooting gets 40 years to life

“Her behavior is despicable and I, along with our entire Orange County community, am outraged that the state Legislature continues to water down our laws to give criminals charged with egregious crimes break after break,” Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer said in a statement.

Spitzer was referring to 2011 Assembly Bill 109, which allows some offenders to serve time in a home detention program instead of jail or prison.

Spitzer said that time earned in home confinement rather than in a jail was “disgraceful.”

The fatal encounter began as Lee was driving north in her Volkswagen sedan on the 55 Freeway near Chapman Avenue around 8 a.m. She and Eriz were heading to work, according to court testimony.

Cloonan was driving her Chevrolet in the same direction with her son strapped into a booster seat behind her. Cloonan said that Lee cut her off and then flashed a peace sign at her, which she interpreted as a sarcastic gesture.

Read more: 'I just grabbed my gun for some reason': Trial opens in freeway shooting death of 6-year-old

That’s when Cloonan followed Lee for a short distance, changed lanes to pass her and flashed her the middle finger.

As the Chevy pulled away, Cloonan heard a sound that made her think she'd hit a rock until her son cried out in pain. She pulled over to the side of the freeway and called for help. Within an hour, her son was pronounced dead at Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

Eriz fired a single bullet from his Glock 17, which he said in court he carried because “people have been acting crazy around the freeway.”

The shot traveled through the Chevy’s trunk and child seat and through the 6-year-old’s liver, lung and heart, according to court testimony.

Eriz, 27, was found guilty on Jan. 25 of one felony count of second-degree murder and one felony count of shooting into an occupied vehicle. There were also two felony enhancements stemming from his use of a firearm to cause great bodily injury and death. Eriz was sentenced April 12 to 40 years to life in prison.

A motorist nearby snapped a blurry photo of Lee’s Volkswagen, which led to a 16-day hunt by authorities for the vehicle.

Read more: Costa Mesa man convicted of murder in freeway shooting of 6-year-old

Eriz eventually parked Lee’s car at a family friend’s home and they began using Eriz’s truck to drive to work.

Spitzer accused Lee of duplicity.

“A 6-year-old little boy is dead, and instead of coming forward while the rest of Southern California was desperately searching for his killer, she helped the murderer hide critical evidence and then continued to live her life like nothing ever happened,” he said.

A call to Lee's public defender was not immediately returned.

One case is still outstanding regarding Aidan Leos.

Joey Leos, the boy’s father, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Lee, Eriz, Cloonan and his mother-in-law, Carla Lacy.

The next scheduled court day for the lawsuit is June 25.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.