The teenager serving life in prison for slaughtering an elderly Davis couple in their bed nearly five years ago had his sentence reversed by a state appeals panel and will soon return to Woodland to face a juvenile judge in the slayings.
The Feb. 22 ruling by the Sacramento-based Third Appellate Court sets up a hearing to determine whether Daniel William Marsh's 52-years-to-life sentence should stand or whether the shocking case will be retried in Yolo Juvenile Court.
A date for the transfer hearing, as it is called, has not yet been set, but is expected within the next several months.
Marsh was 17 when he was sentenced in September 2014 in Yolo Superior Court to 52 years to life in state prison for the April 2013 knife murders of attorney and local musician Oliver Northup, 87, and his wife, church official Claudia Maupin, 76, in their Cowell Avenue condominium.
Marsh was just shy of his 16th birthday when he snuck into the couple's south Davis home on April 14, 2013 while they slept and slashed and mutilated the pair – the gruesome realization of fantasies the Davis teen harbored of murder and torture.
"I'm incredulous," said Victoria Hurd, one of Maupin's daughters. Yolo County prosecutors told her about the ruling. "This is so wrong. It's come barreling back into our presence."
A "shocked and disappointed" Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig blamed Proposition 57 for the ruling, saying the ruling renews the horror for the victims' survivors and opens the possibility that Marsh could be freed at age 25 if a juvenile court judge determines he should be tried as a minor and is convicted.
The ballot measure, approved with broad support in 2016, requires judges determine whether juveniles charged with certain crimes be tried in juvenile or adult court. Prior to Prop 57, prosecutors decided whether minors were to be tried as adults in serious cases such as homicides.
Marsh, now 20, was convicted and sentenced before Prop 57 went into effect, but the appeals court in its four-page opinion ruled retroactively that the case go to a transfer hearing to decide where the case will be heard.
"This case is dealing with a serial killer who murdered two elderly people in their beds," Reisig said Monday. "No voter thought (Marsh) would be a beneficiary of this process. No voter could have reasonably envisioned that a convicted double murderer would come back to this county to retraumatize these victims. This has shocked them and rocked their moving forward."
Hurd said she and other family members have been in therapy since the couple was killed.
"We were moving forward, going on with life, and getting to a new normal," Hurd said. "Now everything's raw again."
Reisig's prosecutors tried Marsh as an adult in the case that stunned Davis and Yolo County for its savagery; because of its victims, apparently chosen at random; and because of the boy who faced trial in the slayings: a one-time Davis police cadet who just years earlier was hailed as a hero for saving his father's life after he suffered a massive heart attack.
But investigators and later a weeks-long trial in the grisly murders revealed a deeply disturbed Marsh driven by family crisis, who entertained grotesque fantasies, was haunted by homicidal and suicidal thoughts and in the years before he killed Northup and Maupin, studied serial killers and devoured online images of sexualized violence and gore.
Jurors and the victims' families watched Marsh's chilling account of the murders to Davis police, his exhilaration at having turned twisted fantasy to reality.
“That night I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to do it. I was looking around to see which house I should go into,” Marsh said of stalking his neighborhood for potential targets on the interview video. “It felt amazing,” Marsh later told investigators on the recording. “It felt great. It was pure happiness. It was the most enjoyable feeling I’ve ever felt.”
At least two juveniles are set to face transfer hearings on murder charges in the coming months, both in the Sacramento courts: a Placer County teen accused of killing his younger sister at their Rocklin home in July 2016; and Keymonte Lindsay, who, at 16, was initially charged as an adult by Sacramento County prosecutors in the November 2015 shooting death of Grant High School student-athlete JJ Clavo before the case was sent back to a juvenile judge to determine whether he should stand trial in adult court.