Daniel William Marsh, whose brutal murder of an elderly Davis couple five years ago shocked the city and condemned the then-teenager to a life behind bars, appeared in a Yolo County courtroom Wednesday after an appellate court ruling sent the convicted killer back to juvenile court.
Marsh will return Oct. 1 for as many as two weeks of testimony to determine whether his 52 years-to-life prison sentence in the April 14, 2013, slayings of 76-year-old Claudia Maupin and Oliver “Chip” Northup, 87, in their south Davis home will stand or whether he is found suitable for juvenile court — a decision that would allow him to be eligible to be released from custody at 25. Marsh, who was confined at Donovan State Prison in San Diego County, has been housed in Yolo County custody since July 12, prosecutors said.
It was supposed to be over, Maupin and Northup’s many family and friends thought. Marsh is behind bars. Many of Maupin and Northup’s family have moved away to rebuild and heal.
Instead, Marsh, now 21, sat shackled wearing inmate’s striped jail clothes next to his attorneys, Yolo County deputy public defenders Andrea Pelochino and Ronald Johnson, casting the same stoic presence as at his 2014 murder trial.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
Meanwhile, family members and members of Northup’s musical family, his Putah Creek Crawdads, the Davis folk combo he led, looked on from the gallery.
Five years after the horror that forever changed their lives, Wednesday’s hearing turned back the clock in ways they never thought they would have to contemplate.
“It’s very frustrating, obviously,” Wayne Ginsburg, Northup’s bandmate, said of the appellate ruling and Marsh’s return to the Yolo court. “We’re emotionally and intellectually having problems with it. It’s hard enough on us, even harder on his family.”
Marsh was days away from his 16th birthday in April 2013 when he cut through a screen at the couple’s condominium, entered the home and violently set upon the pair with a hunting knife, killing them and mutilating their bodies.
He was prosecuted as an adult in a five-week trial that graphically laid bare the shocking slayings and his disastrous family life; the homicidal and suicidal thoughts that bedeviled him; the grotesque gore-filled fantasies that he made real inside the bedroom of a south Davis condominium; and his chilling recounting of the slayings to Davis detectives.
Marsh was 17 when he was sentenced in September 2014 to 52 years to life in state prison.
Marsh’s return to Woodland stems from Proposition 57, the ballot measure approved by voters in 2016, that requires that judges determine whether minors charged with certain crimes are tried in juvenile or adult court.
Marsh was convicted and sentenced before Prop. 57 went into effect, but the appeals court in its four-page opinion this year ruled retroactively that the case go to a transfer hearing to decide where the case will be heard.
Appellate judges in their ruling said it was “not even remotely probable” that Marsh would ultimately be found suitable for juvenile court, but were bound by Proposition 57 to grant the hearing.
Victoria Hurd, Maupin’s eldest daughter and a steadfast presence at the five-week trial in 2014 that led to Marsh’s conviction, was not present Wednesday but said in a Tuesday interview that she would return to the Yolo County Courthouse for October’s transfer hearing.
“My family has done all of this work to rise above it, to do the compassionate things, to heal ourselves,” Hurd said. “This is just so wrong to have victims have to go through this. It’s really disappointing. It feels like even our state isn’t protecting us.”