Jury Decides On Death Sentence For Wesson
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Marcus Wesson makes an appearance in court March 30, 2004.
updated 6/29/2005 2:57:24 PM ET 2005-06-29T18:57:24

A jury decided Wednesday that Marcus Wesson, the domineering patriarch of a large clan he bred through incest, should get the death penalty for the murders of nine of his children.

Wesson, 58, was convicted earlier this month, more than a year after the bodies were found in a bloody pile at his home at the end of a police standoff.

All the victims — ages 1 to 25 — had been shot once in the eye. Wesson had fathered all of them with his own daughters and nieces.

Prosecutors said he had the children killed for fear authorities were about to break the clan up and take the youngsters away. The standoff began after two Wesson nieces who had escaped from the home went back to try to get their children.

His lawyer contended Wesson’s eldest daughter shot the others, then committed suicide.

In pleading for a life sentence, defense attorney Pete Jones said executing Wesson would not “undo the harm done.” He also noted that the jury, in its guilty verdict, found that the prosecution failed to prove Wesson pulled the trigger.

But prosecutor Lisa Gamoian said that does not matter — Wesson orchestrated the killings. She called Wesson a “master manipulator” whose sexual, financial and emotional exploitation of his children culminated in their slayings.

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