Man accused in nine deaths writes a letter to The Bee.
Marcus Wesson wrote a book detailing his “life and understandings before this millenium,” but it was quickly rejected by a New York publishing company whose editors decided it was unintelligible.
Wesson’s manuscript, “In the Night, of the Light, for the Dark,” was returned to him nine days after he said he mailed it to Vantage Press in December 2002.
In a letter Wesson mailed to The Bee from the Fresno County Jail this week, the 57-year-old accused of Fresno’s worst mass murder wrote briefly about his attempt to publish the book and the fears he has for his family.
Wesson scrawled the disjointed, roughly page-long note in cursive.
Wesson is accused of killing nine family members, ranging in age from 1 to 25, by shooting each of them through one of their eyes on March 12 inside his central Fresno home. They all are believed to be Wesson’s children. In the letter, Wesson said a printed copy of the book and a handwritten manuscript were in a converted yellow school bus that was parked next to his home. Police towed the bus after Wesson’s arrest.
Wesson said police confiscated the book along with his bus, but he wrote to The Bee: “you have permission to follow up on it.”
Donna Mobley, a Vantage Press employee who receives manuscripts, said an editor left one note about Wesson’s book: “It makes no sense.”
Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth Egan would not say whether the book was part of prosecutors’ evidence against Wesson. Wesson’s attorney, public defender Peter Jones, said he hasn’t seen the book.
The Bee has written five letters to Wesson seeking an interview and asking questions about the case against him. In his first response, postmarked Wednesday, he is polite and somewhat apprehensive.
Wesson began his letter with the explanation: “I was not writing you off. I am strongly advised not to say anything concerning my case. I have taken it a little further; not to say anything at all to any one.”
In an apparent response to questions about his unusually strict visitation restrictions at the jail, Wesson wrote: “The men and women at the Fresno Police dept. and the Sheriff’s dept. are professionals and treat me in a consistent manner.”
Wesson’s visitation restrictions were slightly relaxed this week. For a month after his arrest, Wesson was not allowed to see anyone other than his attorneys. He can now have some visitors, said Jones, who wouldn’t elaborate.
Jail officials began restricting Wesson’s telephone calls and visitors after a woman called them March 14 and said she feared for her daughter’s safety.
The woman, who asked authorities for confidentiality, suggested Wesson be blocked from family visits because relatives — including his wife, Elizabeth — were going to seek permission to commit suicide.
Jail officials said the woman told them “this could turn out like the Jones family massacre,” referring to the 1978 mass suicide of 900 people in Jonestown, Guyana.
Wesson’s defense team has argued that the oldest victim, Wesson’s 25-year-old daughter, Sebhrenah Wesson, fired the nine fatal shots.
One of Wesson’s daughters, 26-year-old Kiani Wesson, has disputed that her father would influence anyone to commit suicide.
Wesson’s lawyers told a judge last week they could resolve the visitation issues with Fresno County officials out of court. Defense attorneys still are working on a resolution with county lawyers, who initially said they would re-evaluate the restrictions by today.
“There’s an ongoing review, and there are still some temporary restrictions,” Jones said Thursday.
While Wesson’s attorneys fight to eliminate his unique visitation restrictions, they also are preparing to return to court April 27, when a trial date is expected to be set.
In addition to nine murder charges, Wesson also faces 13 sex counts, including rape and the molestation of girls younger than 14 who lived with him.
Wesson has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. He could be put to death if convicted of the slayings.
Judge R.L. Putnam, who has presided over several high-profile trials, was assigned to the case Thursday.
Putnam is overseeing the trial of three people accused of killing Fowler 19-year-old D.J. Hunter two years ago. Hunter was beaten, robbed and locked in the covered bed of his customized truck. He was driven to a field and shot three times in the head before his body was burned inside the truck.
Putnam granted Janet Amerson a new trial in February and ruled her Fifth Amendment rights were violated. Amerson, 54, is accused of fatally shooting her 36-year-old daughter in the back during a dispute about her drug habit.
Last year, Putnam sentenced 56-year-old Thomas Joseph Ezerkis to life in prison. More than 30 years earlier, Ezerkis shot and killed Ara Arax at his nightclub, Ara’s Apartment.
Wesson’s lawyers and the District Attorney’s Office have 10 days to object to Putnam’s appointment.
The developments in Wesson’s case were not mentioned in his letter. He also avoided the events of March 12. Other than to praise police and deputies, Wesson barely strayed from the discussion of his book.
“This is all I feel safe to talk about at this time,” he wrote. “I am worried about the safety of my family. Please pray for them.”
He signed the letter, “A friend always, Marcus Wesson.”
The reporter can be reached at email@example.com or 441-6208.