Man Accused of Killing Nine in Fresno Committed Polygamy, Incest

Police say a man suspected of murdering nine of his family members may have lived a bizarre life of polygamy and incest, even fathering two of his victims with his own daughters.

Marcus Wesson, described by police as ``very calm,'' was arrested Friday after emerging blood-covered from his home, where authorities found nine bodies tangled in a back room and intertwined with clothing.

Investigators later determined the victims included six females and three males, ranging in age from 1 to 24 and probably Wesson's children and grandchildren.

By Saturday, as police prepared to charge Wesson, 57, with nine counts of murder, they were developing a picture of the suspect as a man who had fathered children with at least four women, two of them his own daughters.

``We are exploring the possibility that there were other women he was involved with, either sexually or in some sort of polygamist relationship,'' Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said while briefing reporters about the murder spree that quadrupled his city's homicide rate in a single night.

Dyer said police planned to serve another search warrant in the case, but would not say where, adding, ``We have not ruled out the involvement of any other suspects.''

Frank Muna, a Fresno defense lawyer who sold the remains of his burned-out house to Wesson and five women in 1999, said Wesson's behavior became more bizarre and his appearance more disheveled in the last three years.

When the group approached Muna five years ago, they said they were from Salinas and that Wesson was advising the women how to repair the home. It later became clear that Wesson had a more romantic relationship with each of the five females, according to Muna.

``The neighbors felt there was some weird kind of polygamy commune thing going on,'' Muna said.

Wesson appeared to be in control of the group's finances and their behavior, Muna said.

KCBS reporter Henry Mulak says that the Fresno Police chief noted that not only were the victim's bodies stacked on top of each other, but intertwined and says there may have been some type of ritual involved.

Phillip Hammond, professor emeritus of religious studies at UC Barbara tells KCBS that membership in some type of cult is only one possible explanation. "There's no way to discount absolutely aberrant crazy behavior," Hammond said.

Chief Dyer says membership in some sort of cult has not been ruled out in the investigation.

"I'm very suspicious of the words of anybody who would attach aberrant behavior to some kind of religious message," Professor Hammond added.

Dyer said many people have offered to pay for funeral expenses, police officers who first responded to the scene were undergoing counseling and new details about Wesson's bizarre life continued to emerge.

``This is a very complex investigation and even though we have a suspect in custody,'' Dyer said, ``we have not established a motive.''