Daughter's diaries used in testimony

Fresno Bee/April 19, 2005
By Pablo Lopez

Marcus Wesson was living a life of leisure before he was accused of killing nine children a year ago, according entries in his daughter's diaries that were read to a Fresno jury this morning.

Wesson's daughters and nieces frequently scratched his head and armpits, washed his long, gray dreadlocks, and read the Bible with him, Kiani Wesson's diaries said.

Kiani Wesson also wrote several times: "Daddy is very sweet" or "I love my daddy very much."

But she never said anything about her mother being dear to her, prosecutor Lisa Gamoian pointed out to jurors in Fresno County Superior Court.

Gamoian is using Kiani's diaries, which cover the years from 2000 to the slayings, illustrating that Kiani and her sisters and cousins had an unusual relationship with Marcus Wesson. The relationship included Marcus Wesson marrying his daughters, Kiani and Sebhrenah, and nieces, Rosa and Sofina Solorio and Ruby Ortiz, and having children with them, testimony has revealed.

On March 12, 2004, Wesson was arrested for murdering nine of his children and sexually abusing his daughters and nieces. He has pleaded not guilty.

For the third day, Kiani Wesson, 27, has been evasive about her relationship with her father. But in her diaries, she professes her love for him and for her cousin Ruby Ortiz, who ran away from the Wesson home in the summer of 2000.

On the witness stand, Kiani Wesson cries every time Gamoian brings up her sisters, Sebhrenah and Elizabeth, who were among the slain victims. But she also shed tears whenever Ortiz is mentioned.

Kiani Wesson told jurors she was close to Ortiz and thought of her as a sister. Gamoian, however, pointed out that Kiani Wesson not only married her father, but also married Ruby Ortiz, allegedly on orders from Marcus Wesson.

As evidence, Gamoian introduced Kiani Wesson's Bible, which had an inscription from Ruby Ortiz, dated May 21, 2000. The inscription began: "To my wonderful, sweet wife."

Nearly five years later, the words still had meaning to Kiani Wesson.

"I still love and miss her," she said sobbing.

Testimony has revealed that Ortiz and her sister, Sofina Solorio, had given their children to Wesson to raise.

On March 12, 2004, the two sisters went to the Wesson home to reclaim their children, but Marcus Wesson and his family wouldn't give them up.

After an 80-minute police standoff, Marcus Wesson emerged from the home with bloody clothes. Police then found nine bodies stacked in a rear bedroom. The victims included the children of Ortiz, Sofina Solorio and Kiani Wesson.

Kiani Wesson's testimony will resume after the lunch break.

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