Michael Cass Forsyth, 57, and Thomas James Burton, 65, both of Ingot, were found shot to death in separate buildings that had been set on fire at Ingot Auto Dismantlers located on Highway 299, according to Sheriff’s investigators.
The fire, reported at 5:47 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27 burned a home and a travel trailer, firefighters said.
On Thursday the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office released the cause of death of two people they said have been murdered.
Captain John Hubbard with the sheriff’s office said 57-year-old Michael Cass Forsyth and 65-year-old Thomas James Burton died from gunshot wounds.
Autopsies on their bodies were conducted in Yolo County on Tuesday, Oct. 25.
The case is actively being investigated as a homicide.
On Friday, Oct. 25 at 6:05 p.m. Shasta County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Ingot Auto Dismantlers to a fire with two fatalities.
The fire burned a home and a travel trailer on the auto dismantler’s property.
A Sheriff’s sergeant on the scene the night of the fire said the bodies of the victims were discovered in two separate structures.
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.
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.
All three victims had suffered gunshot wounds before the areas their bodies were found in were set on fire, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office said.
A Shasta County man pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree attempted murder in Shasta County Superior Court this morning.
Joshua McCormick had been charged with three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of 57-year-old Michael Cass Forsyth and 65-year-old Tomas James Burton. The two men were found shot to death and set on fire at the Ingot Auto Dismantlers on October 25, 2013.
The third murder charge was for the death of 31-year-old Eric Richard Ratledge whose body was found shot and burned in the back of a pickup truck on Bass Pond Drive in Millville on November 3, 2013.
McCormick’s fourth charge of attempted murder was from an attempt to strangle his jail cell mate.
McCormick’s plea was in exchange for a 150-year-to-life-sentence. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 23.