As police waited outside his home, Marcus Wesson was unleashing Hell...
On 12 March 2004, police were called to what they thought was a custody dispute in Fresno, California.
Two women – Sofina Solorio and Ruby Oritz – had turned up at Marcus Wesson’s door. Wesson had children with both women.
Though they’d initially left them in his care, now they wanted their kids back. Insults flew and the police arrived. Then, it seemed, Wesson caved, telling police he wanted to say goodbye to the children.
He disappeared inside, his long grey dreadlocks slapping at his knees.
Eighty minutes later he emerged, covered in blood. As police raced inside, they were confronted with a pile of bodies – babies, kids and young women. Blood pooled around them.
Wesson was arrested on suspicion of murder. Then, evidence emerged of child abuse, vampire obsession, and a dad who perverted the Bible to create an incestuous harem.
So what made Wesson such a monster?
Marcus Wesson was born in August 1946, in Kansas. His mum Carrie was religious, Wesson too.
Later, in court, assertions were made about Wesson’s father being an alcoholic who propositioned his son’s friends.
In his 20s, Wesson dated Rose Solorio – 13 years his senior. Soon after, Wesson began molesting Rose’s 8-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. And, by the time she was 15, Elizabeth and Wesson were married.
They went on to have nine children, and seven of his nieces and nephews came to live with him.
Soon, Wesson was the head of a clan of 16. He was strict, punishing the children with a stick. He also delivered Bible lessons, including passages that justified polygamy. And when his daughters and nieces were barely 8, he began teaching them lessons in ‘loving’ that escalated to sexual intercourse.
In informal home ceremonies, his daughters Kiani and Sebrenah and nieces Rosa and Sofina Solorio and Ruby Ortiz ‘married’ Wesson. Told they were having babies ‘for the Lord’, the girls agreed to have Wesson’s children.
The women weren’t allowed to date, and wore long skirts and scarves.
Wesson was also obsessed with vampires. His daughters talked of being fledglings and carrying out ‘vampire’s work’. Coffins in the house even doubled as beds.
However, Ruby Ortiz and Sofina Solorio grew disillusioned, and left the household. But on 12 March 2004, they returned to reclaim them their kids.
Then, as Wesson went inside to say goodbye, the bloodshed began….
Jeva, 1, Marshey and Sedona, 18 months, Ethan, 4, Jonathan and Aviv, 7, Illabelle, 8, and Elizabeth, 17, were all killed. Shot through the eye. Their bodies were stacked in a bedroom from youngest to oldest.
Marcus Wesson, 59, maintained Sebhrenah, 25, pulled the trigger, then turned the gun on herself. There was no gunshot residue on him, unlike Sebhrenah…
He denied murder. However, jurors decided he’d brainwashed the children into following a murder-suicide pact. They accepted Wesson was a ‘master manipulator’, who orchestrated the family massacre.
He was convicted of nine counts of murder and 24 counts of rape and molestation.
In June 2005 he was sentenced to death.