Niece Solorio continues testimony

Fresno Bee/March 24, 2005
By Pablo Lopez

Rosa Solorio told a Fresno jury Thursday that she still loves accused mass murderer Marcus Wesson, considers herself one of his wives and confessed to having two of his children.

Solorio also said Wesson's polygamist ways don't bother her, but she kept her relationship secret because she feared her relatives would get upset.

Wesson, 58, is charged with killing nine of his children inside his Fresno home near Roeding Park on March 12, 2004. He also faces 14 counts of sexually abusing his daughters and nieces.

Among the dead were Solorio's two children, Ethan, 4, and Sedona, 1.

Wesson has pleaded not guilty to the charges. For the second day in a row, Solorio, 23, has answered a barrage of questions about the killings, covering topics ranging from Wesson's alleged manipulation of the Bible to control his children and wives.

Solorio told jurors she has had an unstable home life since the killings, sometimes sleeping in a car or at a park. She often goes to the home where the killings occur to ensure the yard is clean.

"I want to be alone," she said.

Solorio testified that she suspected Wesson was the killer because he emerged from the home where the children were shot. But she blamed her sisters, Sofina Solorio and Ruby Ortiz, for the killings because they went to the Wesson home to reclaim their children.

Rosa Solorio became defensive when questions centered around her sexual life with Wesson. She told prosecutor Lisa Gamoian: "I don't like to talk about my private life."

Though Solorio was called a prosecution witness, Judge R.L. Putnam ruled she is a "hostile witness." The ruling gives the prosecutor leeway in getting a witness to answer questions.

Because of the ruling, Solorio, who doesn't like to curse or identify the private parts of men or women, was forced to explain aspects of her sex life in graphic detail.

Wesson cried as Solorio struggled to say the offensive words.

Solorio, who is Wesson's niece, testified that she was about 7 years old when she and six siblings moved into the Wesson household.

When she turned 14, Solorio said, Wesson taught her "loving." She testified this was when Wesson would rub her private parts over her clothes. The rubbing later turned to oral copulation and sex, Solorio testified.

Solorio said Wesson performed "loving" with his daughters and nieces, who didn't object to the practice because Wesson had told them "we would be better women and we would have experience" to please their future husbands.

Wesson is the father of all of the slain victims, previous testimony has revealed. The mothers include his wife, Elizabeth, daughters Kiani and Sebhrenah, and nieces Sofina and Rosa Solorio, and Ruby Ortiz.

Rosa Solorio said she believes men can have multiple wives because the Bible spoke of it and others, including Wesson, believe in it.

Wearing a wedding ring that Wesson gave her, Solorio said she would be faithful to him forever even if he is not faithful to her.

"I don't mind," she said of Wesson's other wives, who include his daughter Kiani.

Her testimony resumes after the noon lunch break.

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