Sons call Wesson smart but 'insane'

Fresno Bee/May 4, 2005
By Pablo Lopez

Adrian Wesson told a Fresno County jury Tuesday that his father, murder defendant Marcus Wesson, was a domineering figure who was never questioned by his wife and children.

Another son, Dorian Wesson, testified in Superior Court that his father was "weird" because he compared Jesus Christ to vampires. Adrian and Dorian Wesson agreed that their father is highly intelligent but "insane."

After more than a week of testimony regarding the Fresno Police Department's crime-scene investigation into the slayings of nine people in March 2004, the trial in Judge R.L. Putnam's courtroom returned its focus to Marcus Wesson's children, who gave jurors a glimpse into his world.

Wesson, 58, is charged with killing nine of his children in his central Fresno home March 12, 2004. He also is accused of sexually abusing his daughters and nieces.

He has pleaded not guilty. Testimony has revealed that Wesson had children with his wife, Elizabeth, daughters Kiani and Sebhrenah, and nieces Rosa and Sofina Solorio and Ruby Ortiz.

Adrian, 29, and Dorian Wesson, 30, testified separately but gave similar views about their father, saying he was a strict, religious man who believed he "walked as Christ."

In separate, tape-recorded police interviews March 30, 2004, the brothers said their father believed he was Christ.

Adrian Wesson also told police that his father brainwashed his children and his religious beliefs were bizarre. If authorities came to split up the family, Adrian Wesson told detectives, "we would all go to heaven."

On the witness stand, the brothers, who live in the Santa Cruz area, had trouble recalling everything they told detectives, prompting prosecutor Lisa Gamoian to read portions of their police interview to jurors.

The brothers testified that their father would read the Bible daily to his family and interpret it. One of his father's teachings, they said, was that a man could have multiple wives.

Adrian and Dorian Wesson said they don't believe in polygamy, nor do they condone incest and child molestation.

Though family members never questioned Marcus Wesson, the brothers testified they had troubling believing their father's account that the pregnant women in the household had been artificially inseminated.

"Because the [babies] looked like my father," Adrian Wesson explained to jurors. Dorian Wesson expressed similar suspicions, saying the babies had too many of the family's "bloodline traits."

Earlier, forensic pathologist Dr. Venu Gopal stood by his opinion that Marcus Wesson's daughter Sebhrenah could have committed suicide after her eight siblings were shot to death.

Gopal, who works for the Fresno County Coroner's Office and performed all nine autopsies, also said the scientific evidence shows that the seven younger children died one to two hours before Sebhrenah, 25, and her sister Elizabeth, 17, died.

Initially, Gopal had ruled all nine deaths as homicides. He changed his mind after talking to other experts and researching the evidence.

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