Prosecutors maintain man killed nine of his children

Associated Press/May 19, 2004

Fresno, Calif. -- Prosecutors maintain Marcus Wesson killed nine of his children in this city's mass slaying, even as his defense continues to point the finger at Wesson's eldest daughter.

In a 53-page motion filed this week in response to a defense request for a dismissal of all nine murder charges, prosecutors said Wesson had to have done it - he was the only person to emerge from the home alive on March 12. Police then discovered the bloody pile of bodies in a back bedroom. Wesson had blood on his body and clothes.

Prosecutors say a knife that Wesson typically carried was found under one of the victims.

Judge R.L. Putnam was expected to make a decision Thursday.

At Wesson's preliminary hearing, Fresno County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Jones found there was enough evidence to hold him for trial, even as Wesson's defense made claims that Wesson's eldest daughter committed the murders, then turned a gun on herself.

Wesson's attorneys argued at his preliminary hearing that Wesson's daughter, 25-year-old Sebhrenah Wesson, was the killer. Her body was discovered to the side of the pile of other victims and a gun and knife used in the murders were found beneath her.

Wesson, 57, has been charged with nine counts of murder and 13 counts of sexual assault. He has pleaded innocent to all charges.

In the motion filed Tuesday, prosecutors detail a murder-suicide pact that some of Wesson's family members claimed he had devised years ago. In his teachings, Wesson told his children they should kill each other, youngest to oldest, should authorities ever try to break apart the family, according to testimony at his hearing.

Prosecutors pointed out that the gun used in the killings belonged to Wesson and he was the only family member who had learned how to use it.

All of the victims are believed to be his children, ranging in age from 1 to 25. Police claim Wesson engaged in incest and polygamy, fathering children with his daughters and nieces.

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