Yolo County News

Daniel Marsh, 16, faces trial in brutal south Davis slayings

In searing testimony Friday , a Davis homicide detective detailed the savage attack that killed Oliver Northup and Claudia Maupin in the bedroom of their south Davis condominium in April and described a knife-wielding Daniel William Marsh roaming the streets hours before the killing.

“On this night, he said he just had enough,” said Davis police Detective Ariel Pineda, who testified at Marsh’s preliminary hearing in Yolo Superior Court. Pineda interviewed Marsh for four hours at police headquarters in June before his arrest on suspicion of murder. “(Marsh) said he was aimlessly walking around looking for his victim. He ended up at 4006 Cowell, he said, and proceeded to tell us what he did there.”

Marsh, 16, will face trial on murder charges with special circumstances of lying in wait and torture in the elderly couple’s killing, Yolo Superior Court Judge Timothy Fall ruled. Arraignment is scheduled Sept. 24. Marsh has pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains held in Yolo County juvenile custody. Marsh is ineligible for the death penalty because of his age, but faces a life sentence if convicted.

The case has shocked the city from the moment Davis police discovered the couple’s bodies in their bed the night of April 14 during a welfare check. The city was shaken again when a teenager lauded as a hero barely four years ago was taken into police custody in June and charged with their killings.

On Friday, Marsh sat with his attorney, Yolo County Deputy Public Defender Ronald Johnson, looking frail, his shaggy blond locks gone, shorn to a jail-issue buzz cut. Johnson did not call witnesses during the preliminary hearing.

In chilling testimony, Pineda said Marsh told him and other detectives that he snuck out in the pre-dawn hours clad in black and looking for homes with open doors and windows before finding the couple’s condo.

He wore a black mask, black shirt and a pilot’s jacket, Pineda said. Black pants, black shoes and a 6-inch Buck knife. All were stashed in the couple’s garage, except the jacket. “A souvenir,” Pineda said.

Pineda testified that Marsh told investigators he sliced a screen, climbed through a window and into the home, waiting until he heard the pair sleeping before entering the master bedroom. He waited a few minutes “to decide what he was going to do to them,” Pineda testified.

Pineda testified Marsh said he felt “exhilarated,” his body trembled, the feeling akin to an “out-of-body experience” as he stood at the couple’s bedside.

Then, Maupin awoke, startled, and Marsh attacked, Pineda testifed. When Northup awakened, Pineda said, Marsh set upon him.

Maupin, 76, a pastoral associate at her church, was stabbed 67 times, Yolo County Chief Deputy Coroner Gina Moya testified. Northup, 87, a longtime local attorney and musician, was stabbed 61 times, Moya said. A cellular phone, presumably Marsh’s, was found amid one of Maupin’s wounds.

“He wanted to mess with those who were going to investigate” the slayings, Pineda said.

The killings gave “(Marsh) a high for a few days,” Pineda testified, saying Marsh “planned to wander the streets and beat someone to death with a bat.”

It wasn’t the first time Marsh’s thoughts had turned to killing, Pineda testified. He said Marsh told police about the first time, 10 years ago. Marsh was 6. The thoughts grew by middle school – about the same time Marsh was hailed by the local Red Cross as a 12-year-old for taking the wheel from his heart-attack-stricken father and guiding his station wagon to safety in 2009.

A severely depressed Marsh stayed at a psychiatric hospital four months before the April slayings, court documents showed, revealing that Marsh had battled depression and anorexia since at least 2011. But Marsh’s troubles were long-standing as his family battled through divorce, custody fights and deep financial, physical and mental health problems, the documents filed in Yolo Superior Court showed.

The testimony brought occasional gasps from a courtroom packed with the couple’s friends and family, sitting with Marsh family members and the father whose life he had saved. Mostly, it was met with stone-faced silence.

As the shaken gallery filed out of the courtroom, Northup’s daughter, Mary Northup, spoke to reporters.

“It’s just a tragedy,” Northup said. “There’s no more to say.”

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