Fred Gladdis / Davis Enterprise

Daniel William Marsh, 16, is accused of killing a Davis couple in their home in April.

Yolo judge keeps hearing open in alleged Davis murder case

Published: Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 - 11:35 am
Last Modified: Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 - 1:17 pm

The preliminary hearing for the teen accused of killing a Davis couple in April will remain open, a Yolo Superior Court judge ruled Thursday.

Yolo Superior Court Judge Timothy Fell rejected efforts by Daniel William Marsh's attorney to bar the public and media from the proceedings.

Ronald Johnson, Yolo County deputy public defender, had argued that media coverage surrounding Marsh and the violent deaths of Davis attorney Oliver Northup and Claudia Maupin was "sensational" and jeopardized Marsh's ability to have a fair trial.

Marsh, 16, faces two counts of murder with special circumstances in connection with the Davis couple's deaths. A preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 13 in Yolo Superior Court.

Marsh remains held without bail at Yolo County's juvenile detention facility.

Attorneys representing several news organizations including The Sacramento Bee disputed the claims, saying a closed hearing would violate the First Amendment. The Yolo County District Attorney's Office filed its own motion, arguing a closed hearing would deny family and friends of Northup and Maupin from attending the proceeding.

On Thursday, Johnson said media coverage would "increase the sensational nature of the case" and make it more difficult to seat a jury in Yolo County.

But Fell quickly denied the defense motion, ruling it was unlikely potential jurors would be prejudiced by media coverage.

Attorney Stephen Burns, who represented The Bee, Davis Enterprise and Woodland Daily Democrat, and Paul Nicholas Boylan, representing the community website People's Vanguard of Davis, praised the ruling.

"We think it's important that we have these hearings open," Burns said. "There's no reason for a gag order."

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