Judge rules sufficient evidence to try Marcus Wesson for mass murder

Associated Press/April 12, 2004

Fresno, California -- A California judge has ordered family patriarch Marcus Wesson to stand trial on charges he murdered nine of his children.

At the end of a two-day preliminary hearing in Fresno, the judge said enough evidence exists for Wesson to be tried.

Defense attorneys are suggesting Wesson's oldest daughter -- one of the victims -- is the real killer.

Police testified Wesson had fashioned a murder-suicide pact by which the oldest children would kill the youngest before committing suicide, if authorities ever tried to break up the family.

Officers found a gun and a knife under the oldest daughter's body. She was the only adult victim. Gunpowder tests were done on some victims' hands but results haven't been released.

The day of the shootings, March 12th, an officer had talked with Wesson outside the house. Wesson abruptly went inside, then surrendered later, in bloody clothes.

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