Father Convicted of
Murdering 9 Children
FRESNO, Calif. -- Marcus Wesson, the domineering patriarch of a large clan he bred through incest, was convicted Friday of murdering nine of his children, whose bodies were found last year at the end of a police standoff. Wesson, 58, could get the death penalty.
The jury took more than two weeks to find Wesson guilty on nine counts of first-degree murder. He was also convicted on 14 counts of raping and molesting seven of his underage daughters and nieces.
The defense had argued that Sebhrenah Wesson, 25 -- the oldest to die -- killed herself as well as her siblings and the 1-year-old son she had with her father. Prosecutors said Marcus Wesson was the triggerman, but they argued that even if Sebhrenah did the shooting, her father should be found guilty if he encouraged her to kill.
The jurors accepted the prosecution's second theory: They found Wesson guilty even though they decided the government did not prove he pulled the trigger.
Jury Told Klansman
Staged Murder Alibi
PHILADELPHIA, Miss. -- A former Ku Klux Klansman accused in the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers ordered fellow Klansmen to attack the three men and then went to a funeral home to create an alibi for himself, according to testimony read in court Friday.
The 1967 testimony from James Jordan -- a Klan member-turned-government witness who has since died -- was read to the jury on the second day of Edgar Ray Killen's murder trial. Jordan testified that Killen, a Klan leader, told a group of Klansmen that the three men had been arrested and where to hunt them down once they were released. Then he asked to be dropped off at a funeral home.
Killen has said he was at a wake when James Chaney, a black Mississippian, and Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, white New Yorkers, were killed.
* NEW YORK -- A corporate helicopter plunged into the East River just blocks south of the United Nations, and all eight people aboard were pulled from the water by rescuers, police said. It was the second helicopter crash in four days in the waters off Manhattan.
* SALEM, Ore. -- Oregon resumed issuing medical-marijuana cards, deciding the program could continue despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing federal prosecution for possessing the drug. But the state warned that registration in the state program will not protect patients or caregivers from federal prosecution for drug possession if the federal government chooses to take action against them.
* INDIANAPOLIS -- An Algerian man who pretended he had information about a supposed al Qaeda plot to bomb five U.S. cities was sentenced Friday to a year in prison. Ahmed Allali, 37, was convicted on three counts of making false statements. He had pleaded guilty.
* SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The first government search in decades for a hydrogen bomb lost off the Georgia coast in 1958 found no trace of the sunken weapon, the Air Force said. The report -- issued nine months after scientists tested radiation levels off Tybee Island -- concluded that there is no danger of a nuclear blast from the 7,600-pound bomb and that the weapon should be left where it is, buried somewhere in the muck.
* AUSTIN -- Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed a law giving juries the option of sentencing murderers to life without parole -- a measure some foes of capital punishment believe will lead to fewer executions in a state that carries out the death penalty more than any other. Up until now, juries in capital murder cases in Texas had two options: the death penalty, or life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years. The new law takes away any chance of parole.
-- From News Services