Father Pleads Guilty To Avoid Death Row After Rape, Murder Of Teen Daughter

A long-running case that began in Santa Clara County when a judge awarded a man with a lengthy criminal record custody of his kids came to an abrupt end Tuesday in Modesto when the father admitted mid-trial to drugging, sexually abusing and killing his 14-year-old daughter.

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Mark Mesiti, 49, now faces life in prison without parole rather than the death penalty after pleading guilty to all 49 charges against him, including the 2006 murder of his daughter. He killed her less than a year after being awarded custody of her and her brother by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Vincent J. Chiarello.

According to court documents, the judge was aware at the time that in the seven years prior to being awarded custody, Mesiti had been convicted of state and federal charges, including bank fraud and drunken driving. He also was charged with domestic violence and ordered to attend anger-management classes after pleading guilty to a lesser charge. After failing to comply with court orders to attend drug- and alcohol-treatment programs, he landed in prison for violating probation.

The remains of Alycia Mesiti-Allen were found buried behind her father's former Central Valley home. ( Courtesy of Roberta Allen)
The remains of Alycia Mesiti-Allen were found buried behind her father’s former Central Valley home. (Courtesy of Roberta Allen) 

Alycia’s mother, Roberta Allen, was described by a court investigator as an unfit mother who had battled with depression. However, in an investigation by this news organization after Alycia’s body was discovered in 2009, Roberta Allen described her years-long legal battle as “very angled toward Mark. I couldn’t afford an attorney. He had one.”

Chiarello, who is currently assigned to hearing criminal cases in Palo Alto, could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday. He has declined to comment on the case since cadaver-sniffing dogs found Alycia’s body eight years ago buried in the unkempt yard of her father’s former home in the Central Valley community of Ceres.

An autopsy determined she had died of acute drug intoxication, according to the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office. Testing of the body showed the presence of opiates, morphine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, diazepam, methadone, and anti-depressants.

Alycia’s great-aunt, San Jose resident Roberta Fitzpatrick, said Mesiti’s sudden decision to plead guilty six weeks after the jury had been chosen spared the family three more months of listening to excruciating testimony.

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After sedating his daughter, Mesiti had photographed or videotaped more about 40 sexual assaults against her. He also admitted to felony sexual assault counts against two other girls. One was 8 years old; the other was 16 and 17. Under an order by Stanislaus County Judge Dawna Reeves, only the jurors were shown the images. But the audience, including Fitzgpatrick, was privy to the testimony.

“I’m just extremely relieved the trial is over,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s been a very, very long horrible journey, not just for me but for Alycia’s mom.”

According to a statement released by Stanislaus County prosecutors, Mesiti had hundreds of thousands of images involving child pornography. Hundreds of those images showed Mesiti’s daughter being sexually assaulted while she was obviously unconscious. Videos also showed the defendant setting up a hidden camera in the bedroom of an 8-year-old girl who lived in the apartment with him and his girlfriend in Los Angeles County at the time. Other videos and images showed a 16-year-old female Mesiti had befriended being sexually assaulted.

At the time of his arrest, he was operating a methamphetamine laboratory in Los Angeles.

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Fitzpatrick praised the Stanislaus County judge, as well as Chief Deputy District Attorney Annette Rees. But she expressed lingering bitterness toward Chiarello for refusing to respond to her many letters and agree with her that he had erred.

“He did not have the human decency to recognize the tragedy and to admit he made a mistake,” she said. “The family court could have saved Alycia but they sent her to live with a really evil person.”

According to court files, the children’s court-appointed lawyer, Jonnie Herring, reported her concerns to Chiarello, recommending only a supervised, temporary placement with Mesiti due to “sufficient issues and risks to these minors.” In 2006, she reported that Mesiti had failed to comply with court orders to enroll his children in school and remain in touch.

“I am deeply concerned about both minors, especially Alycia,” Herring wrote in a report to Chiarello.

In court Tuesday, prosecutor Rees required Mesiti to spend what turned out to be more than an hour making “a personal and public allocution of all his crimes in open court,” meaning he had to formally plead guilty to every single charge rather than simply agree he had committed all 49 crimes.

Mesiti’s sentencing hearing, which will include victim-impact statements from Alycia’s friends and family, is set for Nov. 28 in Modesto.

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Source : http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/17/father-pleads-guilty-to-avoid-death-penlaty-after-rapemurder-of-daughter/

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