Second Wesson niece remembers ordeal

Ruby Ortiz testifies about attempt to reclaim children

Fresno Bee/March 15, 2005
By Pablo Lopez

Another niece of Marcus Wesson's testified Monday about her attempt to reclaim her child from him - actions that led to the child's murder, as well as the killings of eight other children last year.

Ruby Ortiz's testimony follows that of her sister, Sofina Solorio, who spent five days in Fresno County Superior Court testifying about what she said was Wesson's desire to have babies with his children and nieces as well as a family murder-suicide pact.

Wesson, 58, is charged with nine counts of murder and 14 counts of sexually abusing his nieces and children. He has pleaded not guilty.

Solorio, 29, was on the witness stand most of Monday, answering cross-examination questions from Wesson's lawyers, Ralph Torres and Peter Jones.

Late in the afternoon, Ortiz, 27, began testifying about the events leading up the city's worst mass murder. Among the dead were 7-year-old Aviv, the daughter of Ortiz and Wesson, and 7-year-old Jonathan, the son of Solorio and Wesson. Testimony has revealed that Wesson, the uncle of Ortiz and Solorio, raised the two women, and in turn, the women gave their children to Wesson to raise.

Ortiz's testimony, so far, is similar to what Solorio had told jurors.

Ortiz testified that she and Solorio wanted their children back because Wesson would not stop having babies with his children and nieces. She also believed Aviv was not eating enough or getting a proper education.

On March 12, 2004, Ortiz, Solorio and several relatives and friends went to the Wesson home to get Aviv and Jonathan. Ortiz said they had to act quickly because they believed the Wesson family was about to leave town.

Wesson, however, would not give up the children, saying it wouldn't be right for the women to take the children under duress, Ortiz testified.

Wesson's daughters, Sebhrenah and Kiani, also cursed Ortiz and Solorio and ordered them to leave without their children.

"You have no rights to these children," Kiani Wesson reportedly said. "You are surrogate mothers."

But Ortiz said she and Solorio would not give up.

A relative or friend of theirs called police. Once police arrived, the two women showed an officer birth certificates for Jonathan and Aviv to prove they were the mothers.

Ortiz said she then overheard the officer explain to Wesson that he had no legal right to the children.

The officer also told Wesson that if he did not cooperate, Child Protective Services would take the children from him.

Ortiz's testimony will continue today in Judge R.L. Putnam's courtroom.

Earlier, Solorio testified that Wesson told her that if police found out about the molestation and incest, he would plead guilty to the charges to protect her and the other young women.

She also said Wesson and the girls discussed a murder-suicide pact for possible use if a government agency such as CPS came to split up the family, but "we never got into details" or practiced how to carry it out.

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