The Yolo Superior Court judge presiding over the case of a Davis teen accused of killing an elderly couple in April has been removed after the youth’s attorney accused the jurist of bias.
Yolo County Deputy Public Defender Ronald Johnson alleged that Judge Timothy L. Fall was prejudiced against Daniel William Marsh, the 16-year-old boy accused of stabbing to death attorney Oliver Northup, 87, and his wife, Claudia Maupin, 76, during a break-in at their Davis home on April 13, court records showed.
Marsh, who was 15 at the time of the killings, faces two counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances. He has pleaded not guilty, and Yolo County is holding him in juvenile custody.
Because of his age, he is ineligible for the death penalty, but he faces a life sentence in prison if convicted.
Johnson filed the single-page declaration last Wednesday in Yolo Superior Court in Woodland, stating his client “cannot have a fair and impartial hearing” in front of Fall. The declaration provided no details.
Davis’ first homicide since 2011, the case has included a chilling September preliminary hearing that detailed the savage bedroom attack that investigators said killed the elderly couple. Fall ordered the case to proceed to trial.
The case’s notoriety grew before the preliminary hearing, and Fall denied a motion by Johnson to close the proceedings to the public. International media had picked up the story of the troubled teen, who had been lauded in 2009 as a hometown hero for saving his father’s life, only to later face trial on suspicion of murder.
Johnson had argued in August that news coverage jeopardized Marsh’s chance at a fair trial, but Fall was not convinced and ruled that the preliminary hearing would be in open court.
The trial is scheduled to begin March 3. A new judge has yet to be selected, a decision to be made by Presiding Judge David Rosenberg.