Harriet Ryan, CNN.com, April 22, 2005
In an unexceptional, wood-paneled courtroom on the fifth-floor of the downtown Superior Court here, the story of the city’s worst mass murder is unfolding in chilling detail.
The tale emerging from the trial of Marcus Wesson rivals an Anne Rice novel, with testimony of incest, child brides, vampire aliases, coffin beds and an apocalyptic obsession that led a one-time bank teller to turn his extended family into a reclusive cult.
Wesson, 58, stands accused of killing nine of his children, including seven he sired with his own daughters and nieces. He is also charged with molestation and rape. The murder victims, ranging in age from 1 to 25, were discovered in the family’s home March 12, 2004, after a standoff with police over a custody issue. Each had been shot once through the eye and piled in a back bedroom ringed with antique coffins.
The prosecutor claims Wesson had preached that it was better for the family to die and “go to the Lord” together than be separated by child protective services.
The most stunning testimony has related to Wesson’s sexual proclivities. According to the witnesses, he separated sisters from their brothers. “So we wouldn’t have sexual feelings for them or other men,” his niece, Ruby Ortiz, recalled. Females were forced to wear head scarves and long skirts.
The girls raised by Wesson, now young women in their 20s, testified that when they reached the age of 8, Wesson began what he called “loving” _ molesting them in their beds.
“He did it so we would be better women,” testified one niece, Rosa Solorio, 23.
According to the witnesses, Wesson said his conduct was consistent with the Bible and that “Jesus was a womanizer.” The family studied the Bible three times a day, with Wesson interpreting passages for the group. Among his favorites were those dealing with polygamy.
“God’s people are becoming extinct,” Sofina Solorio recalled him saying. “We need to preserve God’s children. We need to have more children for the Lord.”
He married himself to several of his nieces and daughters in home ceremonies. Ortiz recalled how they stood alone in her bedroom with her hand on the Bible and his hand pressing hers and recited marriage vows. He gave each of his young wives a necklace and gold band.
Some witnesses have testified that the Wessons planned to use the coffins to make furniture, but the wooden boxes were part of his obsession with the dead and undead. He was fascinated with vampires, in whom he saw similarities to Jesus Christ.
“They both live forever. They are both immortal,” Rosa Solorio explained to jurors.
He gave his children vampire names, including his 1-year-old son by his daughter, Kiani. He called the boy “Jeva,” a combination of Jesus and Vampire. He referred to himself as “Je Vam Marc Sus Pire.”