A long-running case that began in Santa Clara County when a judge awarded a man with a lengthy criminal record custody of his kids came to an abrupt end Tuesday in Modesto when the father admitted mid trial to drugging, sexually abusing and killing his 14 year old daughter.
Mark Mesiti, 49, now faces life in prison without parole rather than the death penalty after pleading guilty to all 49 charges against him, including the 2006 murder of his daughter. He killed her less than a year after being awarded custody of her and her brother by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Vincent J. Chiarello.
According to court documents, the judge was aware at the time that in the seven years prior to being awarded custody, Mesiti had been convicted of 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. After failing to comply with court orders to attend drug- and alcohol-treatment programs, he landed in prison for violating probation.
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