Standing over a lectern, shoulders slumped, Jones spoke in somber tones about the gravity of the decision before the jury. "In this community, in this case, putting Marcus Wesson to death would be an easy thing to do," he said. "Of course these crimes demand your outrage.... But you cannot view Marcus Wesson in a vacuum."
Jones reminded jurors about trial testimony that Wesson had a kind, mentoring side all but lost in the depiction of him as a monster. "He is not the worst of the worst," Jones repeated. He recounted a recent jailhouse visit between Wesson and his son Marcus Jr. in which Wesson counseled the young man not to let anger get the best of him.
Wesson told him that each of the men he had gotten to know in jail -- no matter their age, color or crimes -- shared one overriding trait: anger. "That pit has no bottom," Jones quoted Wesson as telling his son. "You fall into the pit of anger and it goes all the way to hell."
The lawyer read back testimony that revealed Wesson's tenuous hold on reality, how he heard "electricity in his head," how his older sons began to reject the "insanity" of his worship of Jesus and vampires. Jones said he was not arguing diminished mental capacity as a rationale for the crimes. But he said jurors could consider mental illness in choosing a life sentence over execution.
Gamoian used her closing to project pictures of the crime scene on a large screen, recalling what each child was wearing -- a bib, a diaper -- when he or she was shot through the eye. Whenever Gamoian underscored that Wesson directed the murders or may have pulled the trigger, Wesson shook his head no. But he did not protest when Gamoian called him "the master puppeteer, the manipulator."
"He controlled their environment. The girls were not even allowed to talk to their brothers," she said. "He insisted on complete isolation from the outside world."
Superior Court Judge R.L. Putnam set July 27 for formal sentencing.