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Mesiti guilty in drug case, now facing murder trial
A Los Angeles County jury found Mark Edward Mesiti guilty last week of operating a methamphetamine lab at a Los Angeles apartment, clearing the way for the former Ceres man to face trial in Stanislaus County on charges of killing his daughter, Alycia Augusta Mesiti, 14.

Mesiti is being accused of sexually molesting the girl, killing her and burying her body in the family's backyard. Police said a cause of death was determined but not discuss any aspects of the case.

Mesiti, 43, has been sitting in the L.A. jail on a $1 million bail since March 28, 2009. His arrest came three days after his daughter's body was exhumed from a makeshift grave off the back porch at 3576 Alexis Avenue in Ceres.

Alycia had been reported missing two days after her alleged Aug. 13, 2006 disappearance. Mark Mesiti told police that Alycia traveled to the San Jose area on August 11, 2006, to spend the weekend with a friend and that she telephoned on August 13, reporting that she had instead gone camping with other friends but would not disclose her location nor who she was with. Police say Mesiti claimed to receive periodic calls from Alycia who assured her things were okay. His statements were, of course, contradicted by the discovery of her body.

Ceres Deputy Police Chief Mike Borges said that Mesiti is tentatively scheduled to be sentenced in the drug trial on April 21.

"Once that's done, we wlll be making arrangements to pick him up to stand trial in Stanislaus County for the homicide," said Borges. "I believe our case is very strong."

After the body was discovered, Ceres detectives tracked down Mesiti to Los Angeles and obtained a warrant to search the apartment he was sharing with Mesiti's former girlfriend, Shelly Welborn. Authorities said they found evidence of a drug lab at Welborn's apartment in the 2100 block of Bentley Avenue in Los Angeles. Mesiti was charged while Welborn was not.

Mesiti is expected to be arraigned on these charges: murder, lewd and lascivious acts upon a child, and rape or sodomy.

Authorities say Mark Mesiti drugged Alycia between April 1 and Sept. 30, 2005 so that he could commit lewd and sexual acts upon her.

Mesiti's criminal record includes domestic violence against Alycia's mother, Roberta Allen, drunk driving and bank fraud case. Despite his record, in November 2005 he was awarded custody of Alyci. Her mother, Roberta Allen, 39, allegedly battled depression, attempted suicide and frequently fought with her daughter. Court officials expressed concerns about Alycia's handling.