Wesson niece recalls abuse, “marriage”

Sofina Solorio testified Tuesday in Fresno County Superior Court that she knew her child, Jonathan, was killed inside Marcus Wesson‘s home because she heard gunshots.

Solorio said she had been talking to Wesson at the front door of his home on West Hammond Avenue near Roeding Park on March 12, 2004. But once Solorio’s attention was diverted, Wesson slipped into his home.

Suddenly, she heard two shots, Solorio told jurors in R.L. Putnam’s courtroom.

Soon after, Wesson’s family rushed from the home, but Wesson remained inside, Solorio said. Solorio also noticed police Sgt. Pat Jackson, kneeling on the ground with his gun drawn and pointed toward the home. Another officer soon ushered everyone off the Wesson property, she said.

As Solorio was leaving, she testified that Wesson’s daughter Kiani Wesson approached her and said: “It’s all your fault. You’re next.”

Reality soon set in. The two families gathered to cry and hug each other. It would be hours later before they learned that nine children had been shot to death inside the Wesson home.

Solorio, 29, spent part of Tuesday morning explaining to jurors her role in the incident; she had gone to the Wesson home to retrieve her son, Jonathan, as well as Aviv, the daughter of her sister Ruby Sanchez. Jonathan and Aviv were killed that day.

Most of her testimony centered on her time being raised by her uncle, Marcus Wesson and his wife, Elizabeth Solorio Wesson.

Sofina Solorio said she was about 12 years old when her mother, Rose Solorio, gave the Wessons custody of her children. Rose and Elizabeth are sisters. She recalled the Wessons were strict disciplinarians who would spank the children if they didn’t learn their Bible lessons. Marcus Wesson also didn’t allow the girls to wear pants or mingle with their brothers. “Because we were a big family, Marcus didn’t want us to have feelings among us – sexual feelings,” Solorio testified.

By the time she was 12 1/2, Solorio testified in graphic detail how Wesson would molest her, rubbing her body.

Wesson called it “loving,” Solorio testified. He also taught her to perform sex acts on him, specifically oral copulation, she told jurors.

As the years went by, Wesson would have his daughters and nieces join in the sex acts.

“He did loving on each girl so they would not be jealous,” Solorio testified.

The molestation turned to sex, Solorio said, because Wesson wanted more children because her aunt Elizabeth Wesson could no longer have children.

Solorio said she was 21 years old when Wesson “married” her, even though he was still married to his wife, Elizabeth. She said she and Wesson held a Bible and he recited a verse. He then made her swear total devotion to him in the name of “Jesus Christ.”

Solorio’s testimony will resume after the noon break. She is expected to speak about Wesson’s fascination with Branch Davidian leader David Koresh, who had many wives and children. Koresh and nearly 80 followers died in a fire at their Waco, Texas, complex, ending a 51-day siege by federal agents in 1993.

According to court records, Wesson, 58, had at least 17 children from several women, including his wife, his mother-in-law, two daughters and three nieces.

He is charged with nine counts of murder and 14 counts of sexually assaulting three daughters and four nieces. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Check FresnoBee.com for updates throughout the day and read The Fresno Bee tomorrow for further details.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
The Fresno Bee, USA
Mar. 8, 2005
Pablo Lopez

Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday March 9, 2005.
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