MODESTO — A 43-year-old man accused of sexually abusing his teenage daughter, killing her and burying her body in the back yard of their Ceres home appeared briefly in court Thursday morning, but he did not submit a plea.
Stanislaus County Superior Court will have to find a new defense attorney for Mark Edward Mesiti. The public defenders office, which was initially assigned to the case, cannot represent Mesiti due to a conflict of interest.
Judge John Freeland scheduled Mesiti to return to court on Monday morning for a continued arraignment hearing. Thursdays court appearance lasted only a few minutes.
Mesiti is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 14-year-old daughter, Alycia Mesiti.
A special enhancement has been added to his charges, indicating he is accused of committing murder before or during rape, sodomy, oral copulation or rape by an instrument, according to a criminal complaint.
The enhancement makes Mesiti eligible for the death penalty. The district attorneys office, however, has not decided whether to seek the death penalty.
Mesiti is being held without bail at the Stanislaus County Jail.
He also faces 44 counts of sexually abusing his daughter, including rape, committing lewd acts upon a child, sexual penetration with a foreign object, sodomy, oral copulation and using a minor to pose or model sexual conduct.
The criminal complaint claims most of these sexual acts were committed while the girl was drugged, sometimes with anesthesia, so she could not resist.
Authorities believe the sexual abuse occurred from July 2005 through May 2006. The criminal complaint further claims Mesiti killed his daughter on or about Aug. 16, 2006.
Alycias body was discovered March 25, 2009 buried in the back yard of the Ceres home the family was renting. The family had moved out of the home by the time the teens body was discovered.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at (209) 578-2394.