Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Marcus Wesson: Control, Incest and Murder


Neighbors set up a memorial for the victims.
Neighbors set up a memorial for the victims.
"He's going to hurt the kids!" the two mothers shouted. One of Wesson's sons told the police he owned a .22-caliber gun, and they called for a SWAT team. The police ordered the crowd to disperse and take cover themselves behind the bus and trees. An enraged woman punched the hood of a patrol car, denting it.

During the ensuing standoff, several witnesses reported hearing gunshots inside the house, according to media reports. The damning implication was that the police didn't move to stop the massacre once it began. But all the officers present denied hearing gunshots, an assertion that was fully supported by their police chief.

The Fresno Bee interviewed several neighbors who contradicted the official account. Maria Leyva, who lived a few houses down from the family, said she heard four gunshots as she was e-mailing her sisters shortly after 3:30 p.m.. She ran to the doorway and heard women screaming "Not my babies! Not my babies!" before returning to her computer to quickly finish her message: "There's been a shooting here in front and apparently there are deaths," she wrote in a missive she showed to the paper.

Police remove a body from the scene.
Police remove a body from the scene.
Wesson's next-door neighbor was in her front yard when she heard a succession of loud explosions, but told the paper that she wasn't sure what the noise was; she'd never heard gunfire before. Nonetheless, she said the words of one woman were unmistakable when her anguished cry rose above the commotion: "It wasn't supposed to happen this way!"

By the time the SWAT team arrived to evacuate the neighborhood, it was all over. Wesson appeared abruptly in the doorway, his black shirt and pants spattered with blood. As officers grab him, he instructed them to use three handcuffs to encompass his thick wrists. The blood soaking his clothing was enough of a warrant to cause the officers to storm the house, and they rushed through the doorway, calling for the children.

Police with evidence from the scene.
Police with evidence from the scene.
It didn't take long to find them, piled in the back bedroom. Each victim had been shot in the eye, and they were stacked youngest to oldest. On top of the pile was Sebhrenah, a .22-caliber pistol lodged under her arm.

The officers searched under beds and in cabinets for possible survivors, wanting desperately to amend this tragedy. There were none. For all of the officers, March 12, 2004 would become the single most traumatic day of their professional careers; many would seek counseling in an attempt to erase the horrific image of the stacked dead children from their minds.


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