Stanislaus County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against a former South Bay man who is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting his 14-year-old daughter, then killing her in 2006.
Prosecutors stated in court documents that they are seeking the death penalty because of the age and vulnerability of Mark Edward Mesiti's victim, his lack of remorse and evidence of other crimes, according to the Modesto Bee.
Mesiti, 44, is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting his daughter Alycia from July 2005 through May 2006, killing her and burying her body in the backyard of his former home, according to assistant district attorney Carol Shipley.
As detailed in a 52-count indictment filed by the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office, Mesiti is charged with 45 separate counts related to the sexual abuse of his daughter on 20 different occasions. Prosecutors allege Mesiti in 2006 drugged his daughter and then raped her.
Alycia Augusta Mesiti-Allen was 14 when she vanished in August 2006, months after a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge granted custody of the girl and her older brother to Mesiti, who at the time had a lengthy criminal history. After winning custody of his children, Mesiti moved to Ceres, a small town located near Modesto in the Central Valley.
At the time of Alycia's disappearance, Mesiti told Ceres police the girl ran away during a camping trip with friends and her pet Chihuahua.
Her body was discovered in March 2009 by cadaver-sniffing dogs in the backyard of Mesiti's former home in Ceres.
Mesiti already had a criminal record when he gained custody of Alycia and her brother in November 2005. He had been convicted on 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.
During the nine months Alycia and her brother lived with Mesiti, police and child welfare workers fielded repeated warnings of danger in their Ceres home. Beginning in 2005, the children's court-appointed lawyer, Jonnie Herring, reported her concerns, 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.
Alycia's disappearance was not elevated to a homicide investigation until a longtime detective on the case retired and a Ceres investigations supervisor ordered up a fresh round of interviews. Police obtained a search warrant for Mesiti's former home, which he is said to have abandoned a few months after Alycia vanished, and discovered her remains buried in the backyard.
Days later, Ceres and Los Angeles police arrested Mesiti in a Los Angeles apartment and found evidence of a meth lab. Mesiti was convicted in Los Angeles County of manufacturing methamphetamine in May and sentenced to five years at North Kern State Prison, according to the Bee.
Contact Mark Gomez at 408-920-5869. Follow him on Twitter @MarkMgomez