updated 5/23/2005 8:47:03 PM ET 2005-05-24T00:47:03

Defense attorneys in the murder trial of a man accused of killing nine of his children began their case Monday after a judge cut short the prosecution’s presentation, rejecting the testimony of two psychologists.

Prosecutor Lisa Gamoian had wanted to call the mental health specialists to show Marcus Wesson, 58, exerted so much control over his large clan of children that he could have ordered them to kill each other.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge R. L. Putnam said the psychologists’ theories would only confuse jurors.

Wesson is charged with nine counts of murder in the March 2004 shooting deaths of his children. He also faces 14 counts of sexual abuse. Some of the victims were children he fathered with his own children, according to testimony. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Opening statements were March 3.

The psychologists’ testimony was important to the prosecution since there is scant evidence pointing to Wesson as the assailant. No fingerprints were found on the gun located beneath the pile of bodies found in a bedroom of Wesson’s home. No gunshot residue was found on Wesson’s hands or on the hands of any of the victims. All nine — ranging in age from 1 to 25 — were shot once in the eye.

A forensic pathologist testified previously the gunshot wound that killed Wesson’s eldest daughter, Sebhrenah, was consistent with suicide.

Defense attorneys maintain it was Sebhrenah, not Marcus Wesson, who killed the children, then turned the gun on herself. Prosecutors claim Wesson pulled the trigger, or ordered the killings.

After the prosecution concluded its case, the judge rejected a defense request for a dismissal of charges and refused to toss out any counts against Wesson. Defense attorneys said they expected to conclude their case by the end of the week.

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