Testimony of forensic pathologist stirs Wesson

Marcus Wessonís nine children were fatally shot in one of their eyes at close range and were homicide victims, a forensic pathologist testified this morning in Fresno County Superior Court.

Dr. Venu Gopalís testimony runs contrary to the defense theory that Wessonís daughter, Sebhrenah, shot the victims and then fatally shot herself.

Marcus Wesson, 58, is charged with killing nine of his children inside his central Fresno home on March 12, 2004. He also is accused of sexually abusing his daughters and nieces. He has pleaded not guilty.

This morning Gopal, who works for the Fresno County Coronerís Office and performed autopsies on all nine victims, explained in graphic detail the victimsí injuries.

His testimony caused Marcus Wesson to wipe tears from his eyes.

In Context

Killed were Sebhrenah April Wesson, 25; Elizabeth Breani Kina Wesson, 17; Illabelle Carrie Wesson, 8; Aviv Dominique Wesson and Jonathan St. Charles Wesson, both 7; Ethan St. Laurent Wesson, 4; Sedona Vadra Wesson, 1 1/2; Marshey St. Christopher Wesson, 1 1/2; and Jeva St. Vladensvspry Wesson, 1.

All of them were fatally shot in the right eye, except for Marshey, who was shot in the left eye, Gopal testified.

Gopal noted that Elizabeth was shot twice in the right eye. He didnít render an opinion as to why she was shot twice, but he said the second gunshot wound was not at close range.

The second gunshot wound came from the muzzle of the gun that was as much as 24 inches away from the victimís eye, Gopal testified.

Ethan also was shot twice, but his second wound was to the right side of his abdomen, Gopal said. He said the boy suffered a ďdistanceĒ gunshot wound, meaning the gunís muzzle was more than 2 feet away.

The second wound also appeared to be at death or right after death because the boyís ďheart was not beating or functioning when this injury occurred,Ē Gopal testified.

In each case, Gopal testified, he ruled each death a homicide, or in other words, someone shot the victims.

After the noon break, jurors in Judge R.L. Putnamís courtroom will view dozens of graphic autopsy photographs of the victims, Wessonís lawyers will then cross-examine Gopal.

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)
The Fresno Bee, USA
May 2, 2005
Pablo Lopez

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