Wesson's children shot in the face

The Mercury News/March 23, 2004

Fresno, Calif. -- Marcus Wesson's children were shot in the face and died almost immediately, according to death certificates from the worst mass murder in Fresno history.

The certificates of seven of the nine deaths were released Monday, offering more clues into what happened March 12. Two of the death certificates have yet to be filed.

The deaths were all ruled homicides. Wesson has been charged with nine counts of murder and could face the death penalty. He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, after twice postponing it last week as he tries to hire an attorney.

The victims Wesson allegedly shot to death include children ages 1 to 17, as well as his 25-year-old daughter, who also was the mother of one of the slain infants.

Six of the victims died from "perforation of brain" caused by a gunshot wound to the face, the certificates said. The seventh died of a "contusion of the brain" after being shot in the face. All the deaths occurred within minutes after the gunshots, the certificate said.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told The Fresno Bee that Chief Deputy Coroner Robert Hensel's report "supports our case."

"We have always said Wesson was responsible for all nine murders. But we also left open the possibility that someone else is involved," Dyer told the paper.

Hensel could not pinpoint the exact time of death. Police are looking into whether the victims were shot while officers waited outside his house during what began as a custody dispute.

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