Crime

‘A 30-year horror story.’ Family of girl killed in Ceres describe life with her father

Roberta Allen said she knew it all along, but she was “dismissed and demeaned.”

Soon after her daughter, Alycia Mesiti, went missing in August 2006, Allen said she told police Mark Edward Mesiti was responsible for her disappearance. Alycia and her brother had been living with their father, Mark Mesiti, in his Ceres home.

In that same home three years after Alycia disappeared, the 14-year-old girl’s body was found buried in the back yard. Mesiti had already moved away. He was arrested in Los Angeles and later charged with murder and sexual abuse in his daughter’s death.

Allen said her former husband is good at preying on weaknesses while winning support from the community to commit his heinous crimes. She said Mesiti created a way of living that involved constant abuse that always had her on high alert; and she still wakes up angry or crying thinking about what he did to her and her child.

“I have been plagued by Mark for 30 years,” Allen said Tuesday afternoon in a Stanislaus County courtroom. “He could’ve been stopped before Alycia’s death.”

The girl’s family had an opportunity to speak in court about the impact of her death. Mesiti on Oct. 17 pleaded guilty to more than 40 criminal charges stemming from his daughter’s death. His plea deal would result in a sentence of life in prison without parole. Prosecutors had been seeking the death penalty.

But Mesiti changed his mind a few weeks later. He now wants to withdraw his guilty plea to get a new trial.

On Tuesday morning, Superior Court Judge Dawna Reeves granted a request from Steven O’Connor, Mesiti’s recently hired attorney, to postpone the defendant’s sentencing.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Annette Rees didn’t object to the defense attorney’s request; the sentencing was rescheduled on Jan. 18. But the prosecutor insisted that Alycia’s maternal relatives be allowed to speak in court on Tuesday.

Allen said that the court system gave her no ability to stop Mesiti from harming her children.

A Santa Clara County court investigator described Allen as an unfit mother who had battled depression, The San Jose Mercury News reported.

Alycia and her brother were placed in Mesiti’s care by the Family Court in Santa Clara County in November 2005, even though the children’s father had been convicted of state and federal charges, including bank fraud and drunken driving, in the previous seven years, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

About nine months later, Alycia went missing. After authorities discovered and unearthed the girl’s remains, they determined Alycia died of a “mixed drug intoxication.”

The prosecution said investigators found images of Mesiti sexually assaulting his daughter while she was unconscious. Authorities believed Mesiti drugged his daughter to prevent her from resisting his sexual abuse.

Allen said Mesiti is incapable of being rehabilitated in prison, since he has proven to demonstrate no humanity, even to those in their most vulnerable state.

Mesiti, 49, was convicted of murder and more than 40 counts of sexually abusing his daughter, as well as sexual abuse charges involving two other girls identified as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 in court documents.

“Losing Alycia was the end to a 30-year horror story with Mark Mesiti,” Alyce Dillon, Alycia’s grandmother wrote in a statement Rees read in court. “We have all lost faith in anything... It destroyed us.”

Some of Alycia’s relatives from Maine, like Christina Allen-Flores, couldn’t attend Tuesday’s hearing and submitted written statements to the court. She said “a black shroud” crept into her life when she learned of Alycia’s disappearnce.

“When I found out she had been found, how she had been found, I wanted so much to keep it away from my kids,” wrote Allen-Flores, Alycia’s aunt. “I wanted one more joyful evening together as a family before destroying their view on the world as they knew it, as mine had definitely changed.”

She wrote that she didn’t know how to explain to her children how Alycia’s own father could’ve done such horrible things to her. Her family has been damaged forever, Allen-Flores wrote.

Michael Fitzpatrick, Alycia’s great uncle, spoke in court Tuesday. He said Alycia suffered severe personal violation over a long period of time; abuse that was documented by Mesiti himself and resulted in her death.

“This was the culmination of 30 years of manipulation and threats successfully cloaked in secrecy for the most part,” Fitzpatrick told the judge.

He referred to Mesiti as “diabolical” and a “human hurricane” focusing his destructive power on women and girls. He said he hopes the justice system will now contain Mesiti’s destructive power and protect those “who are completely unsuspecting of the evil that threatens them.”

Alycia’s great-aunt, Roberta Fitzpatrick, attended nearly every hearing in the murder case. She spoke Tuesday and plans on being there for January’s hearing. She said her sadness is deeper than any other grief she has felt, even more than 11 years after Alycia disappeared.

“Every thought of the hell-hole Alycia was forced to endure and the atrocities that Mark Mesiti committed against her make me continually heart-sick,” she told the judge. “Mark Mesiti has continued to manipulate the legal system to keep a stranglehold on the life of Alycia’s mother and on the lives of everyone who loves Alycia and mourns her death.”

She urged the judge to order Mesiti to spend the rest of his life in prison, like what he agreed to in his plea deal. She said Mesiti should never have another opportunity to violate and murder another child or woman.

“He is a danger,” she said in court sitting a few feet away from the defendant. “Even after he murdered Alycia, he continued to drug and violate other girls. He must be stopped.”

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