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Same Story as Above -- Dated March 14 but saved several days later
Fresno massacre's grisly puzzle
EX-S.J. RESIDENT HELD IN DEATHS FATHERED ALL NINE VICTIMS
By David E. Early and Rodney Foo
FRESNO - Marcus Wesson, the Fresno man and former San Jose resident who allegedly slaughtered nine people, including seven children, fathered all of the victims, two of them perhaps with two of his daughters.
Police on Saturday were furiously trying to unravel what appears to be a maze of incest and polygamy. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said two 1-year-old victims may be Wesson's sons -- and grandsons.
Myriad DNA tests are planned, and police intend to interrogate 10 to 12 relatives and others who might have been at the Fresno house where stacked corpses, mostly children, were found Friday snared in a mass of clothing.
Investigators say the victims are two females ages 24 and 17 and seven children from ages 1 to 8. And charged with responsibility for the worst mass slaying in the city's history is 57-year-old Wesson.
The primary question that authorities could not answer: Was there something that the first officers on the scene could have done to prevent the killings?
``We don't know if the deaths occurred before the officers arrived or after,'' said Dyer, frustrated by the confusion hanging over the incident.
The question results from reports that police were called to a family disturbance shortly after 2 p.m. and were met by two women who said their four children were being held inside by Wesson. The police knocked and spoke with Wesson, who then returned to the house and barricaded himself in a bedroom.
At least one neighbor told the Associated Press he heard two gunshots moments before police arrived, but the officers on the scene didn't hear anything.
Waited for SWAT team
The two women warned officers Wesson had weapons, so not wanting to ``inflame'' a situation where children were at risk, the officers called for a SWAT team and hostage negotiators who came immediately and set up outside the house. An hour passed and suddenly Wesson calmly walked out and surrendered.
This time, unlike the first time officers saw him, Wesson was covered in blood. Inside police found the nine bodies and another oddity: 10 caskets stacked along a wall.
When asked how the victims were killed, Dyer would only say, ``the cause of death is unique and consistent.'' Past 10 p.m. Friday, bodies were still being removed. Robert Hensel, Fresno's chief deputy coroner, said his office was having trouble identifying some of the victims ``because some of them are so young, we have no fingerprints.'' He said confirmed identities probably won't be available until Monday.
One of Wesson's sons said he didn't believe his father was responsible for the killings.
``He was a good father. He wasn't abusive at all,'' said Dorian Wesson, 29, who lives in Santa Cruz. ``He was born in Kansas, lived in San Jose and moved to Fresno to buy and sell houses. He belongs to the Seventh-day Adventists and writes books, too.''
Authorities said several Fresno-area mortuaries have offered their services free of charge.
Dyer said the investigation was in too early a stage to determine what happened in the house, when it happened and what role the two original officers on the scene could have played in the outcome.
Dyer said the caskets didn't seem to play any role in the incident and that the officers, whose names were not released, are under the care of a police chaplain and psychologist.
Wesson, who is being held at the Fresno County Jail, is expected to be charged with nine counts of first-degree murder. Dyer said that in one night Fresno's homicide rate quadrupled from three to 12.
``We have not ruled out any other suspects in this case,'' the chief said. ``We haven't determined if this is a cult, a sect or a different belief system.''
`Right through your skin'
According to neighbors, Wesson lived at 761 Hammond Ave. for about eight months. He was described as aloof, tall and bulky. He wore thick cords of graying dreadlocks so long they dangled below his waist.
``He's a type who could see right through your skin, your body, clothes,'' said a shaken neighbor, Barbara Alec, 61, about Wesson, who has lived in Fresno, police say, for about three years. Alec said Wesson and his large family, at least twice a week, would burn items in the yard behind the home that would produce an indescribable stench.
``What are they burning?'' she wondered all those days. But Friday night, she knew exactly why she felt so upset. ``Now I'm very scared,'' she said. ``It's very spooky and weird knowing it was right at my back yard.''
Dyer described Wesson as ``intelligent, very articulate, very well-spoken.'' He said Wesson, who has no visible source of income, was calm and cooperative during questioning. The four adult women living in the house were employed and gave their money to Wesson to manage. The chief would not comment on their jobs.
Records indicate Wesson, three days from his 28th birthday, was married in 1974 in Santa Clara County. His bride, Elizabeth Solorio, was 15 years old at the time. Wesson lived in East San Jose in the mid-1990s. Neighbors indicated that the house was a Victory Outreach drug and alcohol recovery facility around the same time.
Marcus and Elizabeth Wesson at one point also lived in Watsonville, according to records.
Parked close to the front door of the Wesson home in Fresno is a school bus that had its rear ceiling cut away to resemble a porch.
Neighbors said Wesson and his common-law wife and their two young adult daughters often could be heard at 1 or 2 a.m. drilling, hammering and sawing as they added chrome striping to the bus. The women were always seen wearing large black blouses, long black dresses or loose-fitting slacks.