Silver Rights

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Saturday, June 18, 2005  

News: Wesson guilty of rapes, murders

Serial rape and murder suspect Marcus Wesson of Fresno, California, is now a convicted felon. After deliberating since June 2, a jury returned guilty verdicts on 23 counts of murder and sexual abuse Friday. I had been concerned that the exclusion of some evidence from the case might result in Wesson escaping responsibility for the murders. The prosecution, led by Lisa Gamoian, had hoped to introduce evidence of Wesson controlling the minds of his extended family. He has isolated them, deprived his children, natural and foster, of formal education, and, indoctrinated them to believe he is a contemporary version of Jesus Christ. That resulted in an environment in which rape, incest and physical abuse by Wesson was taken for granted. The judge refused to let experts on mind control testify, saying they might confuse the jury. However, jurors seem to have decided that Wesson controlled his family to the extent that he is responsible for the murders whether he pulled the trigger or not.

The Los Angeles Times reports.

FRESNO - Marcus Wesson, a controlling patriarch who taught his family that he was Jesus and fathered babies with his daughters and nieces, was found guilty of murdering nine of his children Friday - convictions for last year's slayings that could result in a death sentence.

The jury, which deliberated for 10 days, also found Wesson guilty of 14 counts of forcible rape, oral copulation and continuous sexual abuse involving his daughters and nieces.

The killings, which were triggered by a child custody dispute, have been described as the worst mass murder in the city's history. The victims, ages 1 to 25, were all shot in an eye; their bodies were found stacked in a backroom in the house, from youngest to oldest.

The three-month trial - and the testimony of 50 witnesses - offered a disturbing family portrait, replete with polygamy, incest, bizarre Bible teachings and vampire admiration.

The March 12, 2004, murders were prompted by a child custody dispute. Years before, two of Wesson's nieces whom he had "married" had left the family home and given their children to him to raise.

A feud broke out when the women and their supporters went to the Wesson house to retrieve their children. After a standoff with police, Wesson walked outside, his clothes smeared with blood, all the children dead.

The murder weapon, a pistol, may have been wiped to remove fingerprints. However, some DNA from Wesson's daughter, Sebhrenah, 25, was found on it. The defense used that datum as the foundation of its effort to shift blame for the killings to the young woman, herself a victim of Wesson's abuse and mother of a child by him. The prosecution argued that, despite the inability to offer fingerprint evidence confirming Marcus Wesson pulled the trigger, he was responsible even if Sebhrenah or his other allies did all or some of the shooting because he controlled them. A knife sheaf belonging to Wesson was found among the bodies. His clothing was soiled with blood from several of the victims. In addition, Wesson's wife testified that she saw him holding one of the victims during the standoff.

The case will now move to sentencing. Marcus Wesson may be sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty.

Some membeers of the family, including some victims, remain allied with him. They believe he "walks as Jesus" and, therefore, can do no wrong.

posted by J. | 3:00 PM