Crime - Sacto 911

Davis teen accused of double homicide wants torture charge dropped

The attorney for the Davis teen accused of killing an elderly Davis couple says prosecutors haven’t proved that the pair were tortured and has asked a judge to dismiss that claim.

Daniel William Marsh, 16, faces two counts of murder in the April stabbings of Oliver Northup and Claudia Maupin in their south Davis condominium, charges that come with special circumstances of torture and lying in wait. Yolo County Deputy Public Defender Ronald Johnson said county prosecutors failed to show that the injuries inflicted were intended as torture and said many of the wounds were inflicted after the couple had died.

“There was nothing in the nature of the injuries to either decedent to suggest that they were inflicted in an attempt to torture as opposed to the intent to kill,” Johnson wrote in his 10-page motion filed Friday in Yolo Superior Court in Woodland.

Prosecutors earlier dropped an additional enhancement – heinous and depraved murder – after determining it was unconstitutional.

Marsh remains held without bail in Yolo County juvenile custody. A trial has been set for March 3.

Much of Johnson’s motion focuses on the preliminary hearing testimony of Davis Police Detective Ariel Pineda in September.

Pineda’s harrowing account of his interview with Marsh before Marsh’s June arrest described a disturbed youth seemingly bent on killing, a teen who prowled quiet Davis streets in the hours before the slayings dressed in black and carrying a 6-inch Buck knife, who snuck into the doomed couple’s bedroom and said he felt “exhilarated” as he stood by their bedside.

But Johnson said Yolo County Chief Deputy Coroner Gina Moya, who took the stand at the September preliminary hearing, never said how much time passed between the initial attack and the couple’s deaths; adding that there was no evidence that “either victim was deliberately exposed to prolonged suffering.”

Both Northup, 87, and Maupin, 76, were stabbed more than 60 times, medical examiners said. Pineda testified that Marsh told him he continued to stab the pair after they died.

At 16, Marsh is ineligible for the death penalty, but would face a life sentence if convicted.

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