John Merrick, longtime Malibu judge, dies at 93

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(AP) – John Merrick, a longtime Malibu judge who signed a warrant to search the Manson family ranch and presided at the 1985 wedding of Madonna and Sean Penn, has died. He was 93.

His son, Brian, tells the Los Angeles Times that Merrick died of pneumonia on July 31 at his Point Dume home.

Merrick was elected in 1964 to the Malibu Judicial District. His job included hearing cases as far away as Lancaster in the Mojave Desert and Ventura. He later became Malibu’s first municipal judge and spent nearly 22 years on the bench.

In the 1960s, he signed the search warrant for the Spahn Ranch, home to the Manson family. He also presided at the preliminary hearing of Manson family member Susan Atkins for a murder.

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