Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Marcus Wesson: Control, Incest and Murder

Death Plus 102

Marcus Wesson
Marcus Wesson
After a little more than two days of deliberation, the jury found Wesson guilty of nine counts of first-degree murder, and 14 counts of raping and molesting his underage nieces and daughters.

The jurors wrestled with the evidence for more than two weeks and ultimately decided that Wesson himself pulled the trigger on at least some of the victims, the Associated Press reported.

Defense Attorney David Mugridge
Defense Attorney David Mugridge
As the clerk read the verdicts, many of Wesson's surviving family members stifled sobs while Wesson himself remained quiet. He wore the same short-sleeved black shirt he wore throughout the trial, and appeared to have shrunk to half the 300 pounds he weighed at the time of his arrest.

As the courtroom emptied, Wesson's relatives rushed from the building and neither the prosecution nor the defense would answer reporters' questions.

A month later, Fresno County Superior Court Judge R.L. Putnam accepted the jury's recommendation for the death penalty. The judge also sentenced Wesson to 102 years in prison for sexually abusing his daughters and nieces.

Kiani Wesson
Kiani Wesson
Kiani Wesson continued to defend her father to the bitter end, blaming her cousins for the deaths because they tried to break up the family by retrieving their children.

"I am proud of all my family, of the way we were raised," she told the court, her voice breaking.

Wesson's defense team filed a motion asking the judge to grant their client a new trial, or reduce his sentence to life in prison. Putnam denied both requests, stating that the "continued love of him by some family members" was the only leniency Wesson could expect.

Jurors said they felt vindicated by the judge's ruling.

"It was hard — we had a lot of sleepless nights," juror Alex Florez told the Associated Press. "It was a lot of work, but this is closure for us — to feel we've done our civic duty."

 

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