Marcus Wesson

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Marcus Delon Wesson
Marcus Wesson mug shot.jpg
Born (1946-08-22) August 22, 1946 (age 74)
Parent(s)Benjamin[2] and Carrie Wesson[1]
Conviction(s)Murder
Criminal penaltyDeath[3]
Details
DateMarch 12, 2004
Location(s)Fresno, California
Target(s)Family
Killed9
WeaponsStainless-steel Ruger MK II Target .22 caliber handgun

Marcus Delon Wesson (born August 22, 1946) is an American criminal convicted of nine counts of first-degree murder and 14 sex crimes, including the rape and molestation of his underage daughters. His victims were his own children, fathered by incestuous relationships with his daughters and nieces, as well as the children by his wife.[1][4] He has been described as the worst mass murderer of Fresno, California.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Marcus Wesson was born in Kansas, the eldest of four children of Benjamin and Carrie Wesson. He was raised as a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.[6] Wesson claimed that his mother was a religious fanatic. His father was an alcoholic and child abuser who abandoned the family when Wesson was a child.[7] By the early 1960s, the family had moved to San Bernardino, California.

After dropping out of high school, Wesson joined the Army, serving from 1966 to 1968.[8] Shortly after leaving the military, Wesson moved in with Rosemary Solorio and her children in San Jose, CA.[8] In 1971, Solorio gave birth to Wesson's son. In 1974, Wesson began sexually abusing Solorio's eight-year-old daughter, Elizabeth.[9] Wesson married Elizabeth Solario when she turned 15. Four months later, she gave birth to her first child. Eventually the couple had 10 children together.[10]

One of Elizabeth's younger sisters left her own seven children with them, claiming to be unable to care for them. Wesson never held a steady job; he lived off welfare, and had his adult children work and give him all of their earnings.[11][12] In 1989, Wesson was convicted of welfare fraud and perjury.[13][14][15] The family often lived in run-down shacks, boats, and vacant houses.

Wesson was abusive toward his wife and children. He prevented Elizabeth from participating in the children's upbringing. He homeschooled the children and taught them from his own handwritten Bible that focused on Jesus Christ being a vampire. He told the children that he was God and had them refer to him as "Master" or "Lord". He taught the children to be prepared for Armageddon and said that the girls were destined to become Wesson's future wives. The girls were not allowed to talk to their male siblings or their mother.[9] Both male and female children were physically abused. [9] Wesson sexually abused two daughters and three nieces, beginning at age eight.[10] Each of the five girls became pregnant as a result.

Murders[edit]

Prior to March 12, 2004, Wesson had declared his intention to relocate his daughters and their children to Washington state, where Wesson's parents lived.[16] On March 12, 2004, several members of Wesson's extended family, along with two nieces who rebelled against him, converged on his family compound demanding the release of their children.[16][17] Fresno police were summoned to what was described as a child custody issue, and a standoff ensued.[5] Fresno police testified they did not hear gunshots being fired shortly after, though other witnesses present at the standoff testified they did hear gunshots fired at that time.[18] In the aftermath, police discovered nine bodies, including two of Wesson's daughters and a total of seven of their children, in a bedroom filled with antique coffins.[16][18] Each victim had been fatally shot through the eye. Wesson's other children, who were not present inside the house, survived the incident.[18]

Victims[edit]

  • Sebhrenah April Wesson (age 25)[19]
  • Elizabeth Breahi Kina Wesson (age 17)[20]
  • Illabelle Carrie Wesson (age 8)[21]
  • Aviv Dominique Wesson (age 7)[21]
  • Johnathon St Charles Wesson (age 7)[21]
  • Ethan St Laurent Wesson (age 4)[21]
  • Marshey St Christopher Wesson (age 1) [21]
  • Jeva St Vladensvspry Wesson (age 1)[21]
  • Sedona Vadra Wesson (age 1)[21]

Trial[edit]

At Wesson's trial, the prosecutor was Chief Deputy District Attorney, Lisa Gamoian. Wesson was represented by public defenders Peter Jones and Ralph Torres. They presented the defense that his 25-year-old daughter Sebhrenah committed all the murders, including of her son Marshey, and then committed suicide.[22] The murder weapon, a .22 caliber handgun, was found with her body, and Sebhrenah's DNA was found on the gun, which lent credence to Wesson's claim.[18] The jury declined to find that Wesson fired the fatal shots, but convicted him of murder anyway, presumably finding that he had persuaded his children to enter into a suicide pact.[22]

Conviction and sentence[edit]

Wesson was convicted of nine counts of first-degree murder on June 17, 2005, and also found guilty on 14 counts of forcible rape and the sexual molestation of seven of his daughters and nieces. Wesson was sentenced to death on June 27, 2005 and is currently in San Quentin State Prison.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Fontana, Cyndee; Anderson, Barbara; Coleman, Donald E. (April 18, 2004). "The Many Portraits of Marcus Wesson". The Fresno Bee. Fresno, CA.
  2. ^ "truTV - Reality TV - Comedy". Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  3. ^ Llorente, Elizabeth (August 30, 2018). "Will Jerry Brown commute sentences of every death row inmate in one of his last acts as California governor?". Fox News.
  4. ^ "Marcus Wesson's Family Tree", Court TV, May 10, 2005
  5. ^ a b Marshall, Carolyn (March 16, 2004). "Fresno Victims Were Shot, Police Report". The New York Times. Fresno, CA. Archived from the original on September 5, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
  6. ^ Arax, M. (June 30, 2005). Wesson gets death in 2004 murder. The Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ BOVSUN, MARA (February 23, 2014). "Justice Story: Vampire king". NY Daily News. Archived from the original on April 9, 2017. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  8. ^ a b The Many Portraits of Marcus Wesson - Those who know the accused killer draw starkly conflicting views of him. (April 18, 2004). The Fresno Bee.
  9. ^ a b c Guthrie, J. (September 14, 2009). Survivors recall horror of Wesson mass killing. San Francisco Chronicle.
  10. ^ a b Ryan, H. (May 19, 2005). Child brides and vampire names: Bizarre the norm in mass murder trial. CNN.
  11. ^ "Marcus Wesson Mass Murder: Surviving Family Speaks Out on Abuse". ABC News. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  12. ^ "Dad Guilty Of Killing His 9 Kids". cbsnews.com. June 17, 2005. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 5, 2014. Retrieved September 5, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Suspect in 9 slayings had hold over women - US news - Crime & courts - NBC News". msnbc.com. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  15. ^ "Many Questions In Fresno Slayings". cbsnews.com. March 16, 2004. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  16. ^ a b c Francis, Monte (May 29, 2007). By Their Father's Hand: The True Story of the Wesson Family Massacre. New York: Harper Collins. pp. 10. ISBN 978-0-06-087824-5.
  17. ^ Francis, Monte (November 3, 2007). "Wesson massacre largely forgotten". The Daily Journal. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  18. ^ a b c d Child brides and vampire names: Bizarre the norm in mass murder trial Archived February 7, 2006, at the Wayback Machine By Harriet Ryan, Court TV via CNN.com, Thursday, May 19, 2005
  19. ^ Schalder, J., Phillips, H. & Stohler, E. (July 5, 2010). Family brainwashed by dad struggles to heal. ABC News.
  20. ^ Schalder, J., Phillips, H. & Stohler, E. (July 5, 2010). Family brainwashed by dad struggles to heal. ABC News.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g Stewart, J.Y. (June 4, 2005). Jury gets Fresno murder case. The Los Angeles Times
  22. ^ a b i Barbassa, Juliana (June 2, 2005). "Prosecution says Marcus Wesson carried out murder-suicide pact". Associated Press. Fresno, CA. Archived from the original on August 21, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  23. ^ Barbassa, Juliana (June 17, 2005). "Marcus Wesson guilty in murders of nine of his children". Associated Press. Fresno, California. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved October 19, 2010.

External links[edit]