Jury views police tape

Fresno Bee/April 14, 2005
By Pablo Lopez

Gypsy Wesson's testimony was conflicting.

A Fresno jury on Wednesday watched Gypsy Wesson's videotaped police interview because of her conflicting testimony regarding her father, accused mass murderer Marcus Wesson.

In the interview, Gypsy Wesson, 21, reported she was afraid of her father finding out that she told detectives he preached of a murder-suicide pact if authorities tried to split up the family.

"I never thought it would go this far that my dad would kill my sisters and the kids," Gypsy Wesson said.

The interview took place March 14, 2004, two days after nine children were shot to death inside the Wesson home near Roeding Park in Fresno.

Marcus Wesson, 59, is charged in Fresno County Superior Court with nine counts of murder and 14 counts of sexually abusing his daughters and nieces. He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutor Lisa Gamoian has had to play the tape-recorded police interviews from Wesson's wife, Elizabeth, niece Rosa Solorio and Gypsy Wesson because in court they have tried to retract their statements to detectives.

Today, jurors will listen to Gypsy Wesson's second police interview on April 9, 2004, which is on audiotape. Once that tape is played, another daughter, Kiani Wesson, is expected to testify.

Testimony has revealed that Kiani Wesson "married" her father and gave birth to two of his children -Illabelle, 8, and Jeva, 1. They were among the victims.

Much of Gypsy Wesson's video interview is inaudible. Jurors were given a transcript to read along.

In court and in the video, Gypsy Wesson said her father often talked about the family "going to the Lord" if authorities came to split up the family.

She told police and testified in court that the phrase "going to the Lord" meant family members would kill themselves. She also said everyone in the Wesson household agreed with the murder-suicide plan.

Her description of the plan -in which the older children would kill the younger ones and then kill themselves -was eerily similar to what allegedly happened inside the Wesson home.

Gypsy Wesson told detectives she ran away from home eight months before the slayings because her father was a strict man who wouldn't let her attend public school or talk with young men. She also said her father touched her inappropriately on her breast and vaginal area, but never had sex with her.

Before the video was played, Gypsy Wesson, on cross-examination by her father's lawyers, Ralph Torres and Peter Jones, said she wanted to clarify her statements to detectives.

Gypsy Wesson testified that she thought the murder-suicide plan "would never be carried out. I thought it was just talk."

She also told jurors that her father never specified how the plan would be carried out, nor did he teach his children how to shoot a gun or kill themselves.

Gypsy Wesson said her father never said the word "kill," adding that she thought that is what he meant when he said "go to the Lord" or "die for the Lord." In his preaching, she said, he also spoke of "living for the Lord."

Gypsy Wesson testified that her family had five encounters with Fresno police before the slayings, yet her father never told them to kill themselves.

She said her father has a history of talking about things that never come true, such as his broken promises of building a home in the Santa Cruz mountains, traveling cross-country in a motorhome and sailing around the world.

Gypsy Wesson testified that she would never kill anyone or commit suicide for her father or anyone else. On the other hand, she told jurors that her sister, Sebhrenah Wesson, 25, had an obsession with guns, carried bullets in a purse and often talked about death.

"I can't wait to go to heaven," Sebhrenah Wesson said, according to her sister's testimony. "I can't wait to die."

Initially, Gypsy Wesson thought Sebhrenah was playing around. "Then I realized she was serious," she told jurors. Her testimony is relevant because her father's lawyers contend Sebhrenah shot the children, then committed suicide.

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