march 12, 2014
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — On this day ten years ago Fresno was rocked by an unthinkable crime. Nine people were shot and killed inside their home. Marcus Wesson would be convicted of murdering his own kids and grandkids.
The Marcus Wesson case serves as Fresno’s most notorious mass murder. The crime scene was so disturbing it brought veteran officers to tears and drew worldwide attention.
People drive by a barely noticeable vacant lot near Roeding Park every day. Many of them unaware what took place here ten years ago. Cameron Caskey lived across the street. He said, “We actually ended up hearing two gun shots.”
Neighbors had no idea what police officers would discover inside 761 Hammond Avenue. Nine of Wesson’s children and grandchildren were shot dead and stacked in a back bedroom of the home.
Fresno police chief Jerry Dyer recalled, “The officers and the crime scene investigators that had to process that, as well as the investigators, it took a toll on them. It was one of the most horrific things this city has seen.”
Today Marcus Wesson sits on death row at San Quentin. He was convicted of nine counts of first degree murder and several counts of rape and molestation. Wesson fathered children with his underage daughters.
Fresno County Assistant DA Lisa Gamoan was chief prosecutor in the case. Gamoian said, “When you see the manipulation, the psychological methods he was using to control all the these girls, he even financially exploited them. It made sense he would be directing the ultimate act.”
Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth Egan said, “It was astounding how deprived this defendant was.”
Gamoian set out to bring the victims to life for the jury. “How much of life we take for granted that they never got to experience.”
After the murders crowds disrupted the quiet neighborhood. Caskey said, “Even for years after that people would drive by Marcus Wesson’s property and slowly pass by. That got a little tiring.”
That is, until a local real estate group bought the home and tore it down. The property was later sold to the city of Fresno.
Marcus Wesson’s surviving children have talked about how it felt like living in a prison. Lisa Gamoian refers to family survivors as the walking wounded.