Murder suspect’s daughter refuses to incriminate father in emotional testimony
FRESNO, Calif. – The daughter of a murder suspect charged with killing nine of his children cried on the witness stand as she confirmed her incestuous relationship with her father but refused to give details that could incriminate the defendant.
Pressed by the prosecution Tuesday, Kiani Wesson, Marcus Wesson‘s 27-year-old daughter and the mother of two of his slain children, reluctantly went over her diary. Haggard and with her voice breaking, she confirmed on her second day on the stand that she had written passages describing the relationship she, her sisters and female cousins had with Marcus Wesson.
The girls would turn over their earnings to Marcus Wesson, sit in his lap, wash his hair, and even scratch his armpits when he asked – a disturbing combination of father-daughter relations and the intimacy of lovers which had jurors turning away in disgust and, at times, laughing nervously.
“He would just ask us to do it,” Kiani Wesson said, when questioned aggressively by prosecutor Lisa Gamoian about the intimate contact the girls in the household had with the defendant.
Marcus Wesson pleaded innocent to nine counts of murder and 14 counts of sexually abusing his daughters and nieces. Testimony by women raised in his household indicated the victims were Marcus Wesson’s children with his wife, Elizabeth Wesson, or children he had with daughters and nieces he raised.
Although two of the youngest victims, Illabelle, 8, and Jeva, 1, were Kiani Wesson’s daughters, she has stood by her father, telling reporters outside the courtroom that no one understands him, and that the murders were not his fault.
“I love you, my Daddy, always know that. I am deeply in love with you. I will never leave you,” Kiani Wesson wrote in a diary passage which was read in court.
Kiani Wesson’s defense of her father may help the prosecution show the patriarch’s control over his large clan was so complete that they would have agreed to kill each other and die if the family unit were threatened by police.
Testimony so far has revealed he preached to them for hours a day, and talked to them about killing themselves if the clan were ever threatened. According to testimony, he also controlled the women in the house financially by taking their wages, and sexually by forbidding them from associating with men – even their own brothers and cousins. He also allegedly molested them from a young age.
When police responded to a child custody dispute at the Wesson home in March 2004, they found nine victims, ages 1 to 25, stacked in a bloody pile in a back bedroom. All were shot in the eye, but the oldest victim, Marcus Wesson’s daughter Sebhrenah, had a wound that both the defense and the prosecution described as consistent with suicide.
On Monday, her first day in court, Kiani Wesson continued to express her love for her father, even as she told jurors about sessions of sexual abuse, which her father called “loving.” She described the contact, which started when she was 8 years old and escalated from kissing and touching her genital area over her clothes to sex. Kiani Wesson said the intercourse was consensual, because she wanted to be “a surrogate mother” for her mother, Elizabeth Wesson.
In her diary entries, Kiani Wesson spoke of her father in language that most teenage girls use to describe boyfriends, writing “love always” in big print above an entry, and elsewhere, “Daddy and I had a very serious conversation: our relationship.”
Testimony will continue Wednesday. If convicted, Marcus Wesson could get the death penalty.
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