Sunday, August 28, 2005

Marcus Wesson Murders - Media Coverage Very Insufficient

"Judge sentences Marcus Wesson to Death

Associated Press
July 28, 2005

By Juliana Barbassa

Fresno, Calif. -- Marcus Wesson, the domineering patriarch of a large cult like clan he bred through incest, was sentenced to death for the murders of nine of his own children.

Judge R.L. Putnam Jurors accepted the recommendation for the death penalty made by a jury June 29 after hearing moving testimony from several members of Wesson's family Wednesday.

Wesson had been convicted of nine counts of first-degree murder and also found guilty of sexually abusing his daughters and nieces.

California law says the trial judge must uphold a jury's verdict unless it conflicts with the law or the evidence. The judge earlier Wednesday had said the evidence presented in the case supported the jury's recommendation of death.

Putnam also sentenced Wesson to 102 years in prison for 14 counts of sexually abusing his daughters, and the nieces who grew up in his household.

"Justice was served today," Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth Egan said."

It’s interesting how little actual media coverage there was surrounding this case. Marcus Wesson murdered NINE of his own children. Some the product of incest with his own daughters and some of his sister-in-laws’ children that he somehow managed to get custody of; yet little or nothing was written or televised regarding the facts, the trial, or the ultimate sentencing of Wesson.

I suspect if Wesson had been the children’s mother; however, that this would have turned into a three-ring media circus similar to what we witnessed with Susan Smith or Andrea Yates.

We would have been taken through every funeral of the nine victims, complete with name, pictures and a short biography, including a graphic description of their final moments at the hands of the murderer. That would have been just for starters. We would also have been given details of the perpetrators past including how we were told that Andrea Yates had never had a boyfriend before meeting and marrying Rusty Yates in her early 20s.

All this, of course, in an attempt to make sense of what happened or how it could have been foreseen earlier and possibly prevented. I think this is correct. The community deserves to know these facts, as these murders are terrible and terrifying to other families. People are entitled to know the details of what lead up to this and possibly how it could be avoided in the future.

Yet somehow when a father is involved with one of these horrific crimes, these details are very sketchy or skipped altogether.

For instance, I can’t tell you how many times a horrific crime has been committed by a custodial father like Marcus Wesson, yet I have to search for weeks before finding out the true status of one of these murderers. As rarely do news reports make this clear. We never get to hear from the mothers of these children or other maternal relatives who might shed some insight on this for us. I mean what is this, the news media deciding that the public is not entitled to this information for some reason?

Inquiring minds want to know and are entitled to know about these issues. As more important then the fact of the actual murder is how these dangerous idiots had custody of these kids to begin with. After all most parents aren’t murderers, so I’m not thinking that this is a nationwide problem of murdering parents, fathers or mothers out there. Yet many of us if we become parents could be put through the devastation of a custody trial which will include an evaluation. With a 50% divorce rate of first time marriages it’s pretty likely that many of us are going to be facing this at some point in our futures.

So how a murderer obtained custody of children could signal a problem with the evaluation process being used in family courts. That ANY of these deviants was deemed a fit parent at some point is just freakin odd, to say the least. I mean none of these so-called professionals noticed anything strange about their client after putting them through a whole battery of psychological testing during the evaluation process, a home study and interviews by various court personnel?

What’s up with that???

We saw in the Jessica Rhodes murder case, for instance, a perfect example of this.

How the news coverage focused exclusively on trying to smear the mother here. The mother who had her child kidnapped from her as a nursing infant and then was forcibly prevented from seeing her for years. Actually the last time this mother saw her child was when she was being buried after being stabbed in the face, neck and head 16 times by one of the abductors. Yet instead of the news trying to get to the bottom of how that happened, naming some names and pointing a few fingers at the court officials involved in this, they waste their time trying to smear the child’s mother while ignoring real potential problems in family court in that upstate county.

That’s what really gets lost when the media decides to selectively censor facts in certain cases. We need to know everything about these cases just as we did with the Susan Smith and Andrea Yates murder cases.

For instance, I don’t even know even ONE of Wesson's victims names, those children he murdered nor have I seen a picture of them. It’s hard to connect with a victim or experience any rage against the perpetrator of these crimes AND HIS ACCOMPLISHES without seeing any of this.

Frankly, I believe that is the point here, to keep these cases low profile and thus protect the people and institutions that allow the Marcus Wessons of the world to exist and flourish.

Inquiring minds want to know why Marcus Wesson wasn’t outed earlier? How did he manage to get custody of SEVEN other children as well as his own when he was such an obvious misfit? Does California even do home studies any more before awarding custody? If they don’t, they need to start doing them again. Was Wesson evaluated? If so by who and how did he pass said evaluation?

People want and deserve to know if Wesson was just a fluke or if there are thousands of other kids out there in dire situations because the instruments family courts are using to evaluate people are flawed or if there exists bias in the family court system in California. Perhaps trying to be politically correct certain gender-neutralized court officials are ignoring obvious warning signs and giving custody to dangerous men who are unfit to be given custody.

Thus, ignoring the implications of the Wesson case is a mistake that could lead to more children being put in bad situations. The news media has no right to self-censor certain cases. People should be given ALL the facts and then we'll judge what is relevant and what isn't.

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