One of Marcus Wesson's sons told police that he believes his father killed nine of his children inside the family's Fresno home in March 2004, a Fresno County Superior Court jury learned Wednesday.
Adrian Wesson, in a tape-recorded police interview, said he does not believe the defense theory that his sister, Sebhrenah, shot her eight siblings and then killed herself.
"My dad did it," Adrian Wesson told police. "I can't see my sister doing that."
The prosecution has charged Marcus Wesson, 58, with murdering nine of his children on March 12, 2004. He also is accused of sexually abusing his daughters and nieces.
He has pleaded not guilty. Testimony has indicated that Wesson was the father of the slain children. The mothers included his wife, Elizabeth, daughters Kiani and Sebhrenah, and nieces Rosa and Sofina Solorio and Ruby Ortiz.
Jurors in Judge R.L. Putnam's courtroom listened to Adrian Wesson's police interview and that of his brother, Dorian Wesson, because in court the brothers could not recall everything they told detectives on March 30, 2004. The taped testimony was followed by testimony from Marcus Wesson's nephew, Danny Solorio, who also testified about the day of the slayings.
The brothers, who live in the Santa Cruz area, left the Wesson household about 10 years before the slayings but kept in touch with their parents and siblings.
In separate interviews, Adrian Wesson, 29, and Dorian Wesson, 30, said they rushed to the family home in Fresno on March 12, 2004, because their brother, Serafino, called them and said, "They're all dead. The kids are dead."
Dorian Wesson also recalled Serafino's saying: "Dad killed the kids."
At the crime scene, Adrian Wesson said Serafino told him that police "had come to take the kids."
Adrian Wesson told police that his father continually preached that his family would never be separated. If authorities came to split them up, "we would all go to heaven."
Adrian and Dorian Wesson said their father's religious beliefs are bizarre and that he is highly intelligent but "insane." Because he was a domineering figure, they said, no one in the household questioned him.
Looking back, Adrian Wesson told police, "You can see the trail ... the pre-planning" his father took to control his children by home-schooling them and prohibiting outside influences.
Adrian and Dorian Wesson said their father also believed he was Jesus Christ and that his children believed his Bible interpretations, including his prediction that the end of the world would come in the year 2000.
"We were like a sponge," Adrian Wesson said in the interview. "You can instill anything into a child's head."
After the tapes were played, Danny Solorio, 30, testified that his mother, Rosemary Solorio, was a drug addict and the sister of Wesson's wife, Elizabeth. Danny Solorio said he was 11 or 12 years old when his mother gave her seven children to the Wessons to raise.
He described Marcus Wesson as an affectionate father figure who made sure his extended household had food, clothing and shelter, and spanked the youngsters when they disobeyed.
Over the years, Solorio said he stayed in touch with Wesson.
Four to six months before the slayings, Solorio testified that Wesson told him that he was still in love with Solorio's sister, Ruby Ortiz, and that he would never let anyone take his children.
Solorio said he told his sisters, Sofina Solorio and Ortiz, about Wesson's claim to his children before the women went to the Wesson home to reclaim their two children.
He said he went to the Wesson home to support his sisters and, at one point, he believed police had the child-custody dispute under control. After he left the scene, he soon learned that all of the children had been shot to death.