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Mesiti reneges on guilty plea deal
Seeks to withdraw guilty pleas entered on Oct. 17
Mark Mesiti - photo by Contributed to the Courier

A Stanislaus County Superior Court judge will decide whether Mark Edward Mesiti will get a new trial after he admitted in court that he both killed and sexually assaulted his daughter, Alycia Mesiti - but last week decided to withdraw all those guilty pleas.

During a 45-minute process on Oct. 17, Mesiti, 49, entered guilty pleas to 49 charges as part of a plea bargain to escape the death penalty. The arrangement made Mesiti eligible to avoid the death penalty for life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Mesiti's trial was only weeks old when he stunned the court in making the admission, and publicly reading an allocution statement listing in explicit detail the sexual abuse he inflicted on his daughter in Ceres and the two girls in Los Angeles. He was scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 28.

The prosecutor in the case, Chief Deputy District Attorney Annette Rees, considers Mesiti's actions to be his way to further delay justice and sentencing. She called Mesiti a "highly manipulative, evil man" who has no regard for the victims and their families.

Rees was informed Friday that Mesiti is seeking a new attorney to file a motion on Thursday to withdraw his guilty plea and seek a new trial. He is scheduled to be before Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Dawna Reeves on Thursday.

Mesiti's trial started Oct. 3 with a Stanislaus County prosecutor stating that a forensic computer examination revealed Mesiti was in possession of hundreds of thousands of child pornography images. Hundreds of images showed Mesiti's daughter being sexually assaulted by him while she was unconscious. Videos also showed the defendant set up a hidden camera in the bedroom of an 8-year-old girl who lived in a Los Angeles apartment with him and his girlfriend at the time. Other videos and images showed a 16-year-old female Mesiti had befriended being sexually assaulted.

On Oct. 16 Mesiti pled guilty to all the charges and publicly admitted that from July 2005 through May 2006 he had given controlled substances, including prescription anti-depressants, benzodiazepines, morphine and methadone, to his 14-year-old daughter for the purpose of rendering her unconscious so he could sexually assault her. Mesiti told the court he committed rape, sodomy, oral copulation, digital penetration and child molestation involving his daughter, Alycia, many times over several different occasions. He admitted having given Alycia drugs on each occasion to make her unable to resist his attacks. Mesiti also admitted that his administration of those drugs caused Alycia's death.

Alycia's body was dug up in the backyard of Mesiti's rented Alexis Court home in March 2009 - nearly three years later after she was reported missing.

Alycia had been reported missing two days after her alleged Aug. 13, 2006 disappearance. Mesiti told police that Alycia traveled to the San Jose area on August 11, 2006, to spend the weekend with a friend and stated she telephoned on August 13, reporting that she had instead gone camping with other friends but would not disclose her location or who she was with. Mesiti gave periodic reports to Ceres police investigators that Alycia had been in contact with him. Alycia's mother, Roberta Allen told Ceres police she did not believe her daughter ran away and suspected foul play. Their growing suspicions caused them to introduce a cadaver-detecting canine named "C.J." to sniff out the Alexis Court backyard for human remains. A few feet from the edge of the patio, they unearthed the body wrapped in a black material.

In court last month, Martin Baker, Mesiti's defense attorney at the time, claimed that Alycia had been addicted to drugs for two years and died from an overdose of drugs. Baker cited a diary entry made by the girl that if she turned up dead it would be because she killed herself. In one passage, said Baker, the girl wrote that she "wanted to feel nothing." A friend of the girl's testified that Alycia may have smoked marijuana but never did hard drugs.

Mesiti was arrested by Ceres Police in Los Angeles three days after his daughter's body was discovered. Mesiti moved from Ceres about six months after Alycia was reported missing but police traced him to a Los Angeles apartment which had been used by him as a methamphetamine lab. Mesiti's girlfriend, Shelly Welborn helped testify against Mesiti in the drug trial in which he was sentenced to five years.

Mesiti's criminal record includes domestic violence against Alycia's mother, Roberta Allen, drunken driving and bank fraud. Despite his record, in November 2005 Mark was awarded custody of Alycia. The girl reportedly did not get along with her mother, Roberta Allen, who has a history of mental depression and attempted suicide. Court officials expressed concerns about Alycia's supervision and turned her over to her father.

In 2005 Mesiti moved from the Bay Area to the neighborhood just blocks from Sinclear Elementary School. On Sept. 15, 2005 Alycia had been enrolled by her father to attend Central Valley High School but never attended. On Oct. 6, 2005 CUSD received a request for her records to be sent to Harbor High School in Santa Cruz.

The case against Mesiti has been fraught with bizarre actions since he was transported to Stanislaus County after serving a sentence in Los Angeles for his drug conviction.

In late 2012, Stanislaus Superior Court Judge John Freeland relieved defense attorney Robert Chase from the case. Chase announced to the court that he had a potential conflict of interest. Chase was designated as Mesiti's "Keenan counsel," or the attorney who would represent Mesiti during the penalty phase should a jury find him guilty. Chase said he did not wish to abandon Mesiti but was forced to do so.

In October 2015 Mesiti wanted to represent himself in court but it became apparent to prosecutors that he was delaying the process every step of the way. Two years later he wanted an attorney, at which time he was appointed Baker and Bob Wildman.

Mesiti originally said his daughter was molested and murdered by an acquaintance, Gregory Joseph Ulrich who has since died of cancer. Ulrich reportedly had been released from jail three days prior to Alycia's believed murder date. Ulrich was a registered sex offender who worked for Mesiti's home-based computer business on Faith Home Road.