Silver Rights

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Monday, May 23, 2005  

Law: No mind control testimony in Wesson trial

The prosecution of alleged serial killer Marcus Wesson suffered a setback today. Wesson is accused of either shooting or ordering shot as many as nine of his children in California last year. He has set up his family as a cult, with himself as its authoritarian leader. He imposed discipline on a group of as many as 40 persons by asserting he is a contemporary version of Jesus, using the Bible as a source for practices he supports such as polygamy, and, beatings when lesser forms of manipulation were not adequate. Wesson practiced multiple marriage with several women, including his mother-in-law, sister-in-law, daughters and nieces. Several of the women bore him children.

The Fresno Bee on the judge's refusal to allow expert testimony on mind control in the Wesson case.

Two psychologists will not testify for the prosecution in the murder trial of Marcus Wesson because their testimony "would create substantial prejudice" toward the defendant, a Fresno County Superior Court judge ruled this morning.

Judge R.L. Putnam said Dr. J. Reid Meloy's and Dr. Kris Mohandie's potential testimony about "mind control" and "brainwashing" also would mislead the jury and confuse the issue as to whether Wesson committed the murders.

Because of Putnam's ruling, the prosecution will rest its case; Wesson's lawyers will start calling witnesses this afternoon.

Wesson, 58, is charged with killing nine of his children inside his central Fresno home during a child custody dispute on March 12, 2004. He also is accused of sexually abusing his daughters and nieces.

The testimony, which has included that of numerous family members, paints the picture of a man who styled himself as an Old Testament patriach, complete with long beard and hair that was never cut. Wesson claims to receive messages directly from God and know what his children are doing by using his 'vampire powers.' He began molesting girls in the family when they were as young as six or seven. His sons were trained in the martial arts, possibly as potential bodyguards. Among the more bizarre revelations in the trial have been:

~ Wesson, who appears to be obsessed with vampires, bought coffins for family members.

~ Wesson, who weighed more than 400 pounds when he was arrested, hoarded food for himself while forcing other members of the family to beg for groceries or eat food discarded by fast food restaurants.

~ Wesson, who has hasn't held a job in about 25 years, committed welfare fraud and made female relatives turn over their paychecks to him

~ Wesson engaged in behavior that might well qualify for the title, Laziest Man in the World. It included having his daughters and nieces scratch his underarms for him.

But, the most intriguing aspect of the Wesson family, which includes the children of a sister-in-law and a son by his mother-in-law, in addition to those he fathered with his wife, daughters and nieces, is the degree of control Wesson exercised over its members, particularly girls and women. It is that control prosecutor Lisa Gamoian hoped to highlight by introducing testimony by experts on mind control. They would have testified that Wesson's older children, trained to kill themselves and their siblings if the government intervened since early childhood, would have carried out the suicide pact if he had given the word. The circumstances support their perspective. Wesson was absent other times the women members of the household consider killing the children and themselves. He was present and able to order they act the day the murders occurred. Without the testimony from these experts, jurors may not be able to make the connection between the way a Wesson daughter was reared and her possible participation in the killings.

I've followed the trial closely and believe Wesson himself committed most of the murders. He disappeared into the house for most of the two-and-a-half hour period at issue. A policeman testified that he saw a large, dark hand pull down the blinds in the bedroom where the bodies were found. Wesson's wife testified that she saw him holding one of the victims before fleeing the house. Blood and DNA of the victims were identified on Wesson's clothes. His knife was found among the bodies and the sheaf for it on his person. There was sufficient time for Wesson to wipe off the handgun and wash his hands. Or, he could have held the weapon wrapped in fabric.

The prosecution wanted to be sure the jurors held Wesson responsible for the murders even if they believe the defense's contention that Sebrenah Wesson fired the weapon. Without the admission ot the mind control testimony, its best hope for a conviction rests with jurors agreeing with the medical examiner that Marcus Wesson killed all or most of his children.

What's the art?

Marcus Wesson's unusual appearance attracted considerable attention among those who came into contact with him.

posted by J. |
9:50 PM