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Psychologist details Davis murder suspect’s hateful thoughts

In two interviews spanning six hours in August, Daniel Marsh offered a state clinical psychologist a disturbing view into his deeply troubled mind.

Marsh, 17, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the April 14, 2013, stabbing deaths of attorney and musician Oliver Northup, 87, and his wife, Claudia Maupin, 76, a Davis church official. He faces a possible life sentence in the killings.

The Davis teen’s murder trial concluded its second week Friday in Yolo Superior Court with the testimony of James Rokop, who has evaluated sexually violent inmates and those serving life terms as a Department of State Hospitals clinical and forensic psychologist, and who spoke with Marsh in two three-hour sessions Aug. 7 and 15.

Rokop said he determined Marsh has a “major depressive disorder” and had experienced “severe depression.”

Rokop testified through the afternoon offering a detailed, graphic account of a boy who studied serial killlers; who told of binges on vodka and “cannabis cocktails;” and who had a growing obsession with sexually violent and macabre images scoured from the Internet. For Marsh, Rokop said, anger was a primary emotion directed at his family and strangers.

“His worldview was that everyone was a cockroach or a parasite,” Rokop testified. Marsh, in his courtroom uniform, a pressed white dress shirt and striped tie, stared at Rokop, scarcely blinking.

“He had a general hate of everybody. He said he thought about (killing) a lot,” Rokop said. “He had a buildup of anger.”

He had dreams of killing every night after the savage deaths of the elderly couple selected at random in their south Davis condominium, a thrill Rokop said Marsh described as “good as opium, if not better.” After more than a year in juvenile custody, Marsh “still thinks about this,” the psychologist testified.

He had thoughts of killing his mother as early as 9 years old; his sister and a rival by the time he reached high school. He turned his anger outward as the years passed, even through therapists’ sessions, medication, hospital stays, and in the months before the killings, a brief police visit at Davis Senior High School. The officer testified earlier in the week he left the boy his card, asked him to call if he ever wanted to talk.

He took out his rage on birds, a cat and a raccoon, Rokop testified; then two strangers asleep in their beds on a quiet April night.

Rokop said Marsh had told him he had shoplifted a ski mask from a sporting goods store in preparation for an attack. “Someday he would commit a murder with it,” Rokop said. “That was the purpose of it.”

Investigators earlier testified that Marsh cut through a screen and made his way through a window and into the couple’s home. A criminalist earlier Friday said dust and bark on a sofa cushion showed Marsh stepped on a couch under a living room window to make his way into the home and the couple’s bedroom.

The doomed pair, Marsh told Rokop, were “ ‘stupid Davis people who leave their doors open.’ There was no logical reason behind it, he was just looking for someone to kill. They were basically nobody to him.”

Marsh did not know Northup and Maupin, but the couple lived just doors from Marsh’s father. Rokop testified the younger Marsh took chilling satisfaction that a crime took place so close to his father’s home.

Rokop testified Marsh told him he stowed his blood-soaked clothes in his mother’s garage.

“I asked him, ‘Why hide evidence in your mother’s garage?’ ” Rokop said. “He said, ‘There’s no way they would think a 15-year-old would do this.’ ”

The trial is scheduled to resume Monday. The case is expected to go to the jury the week of Sept. 22, said Yolo Superior Court judge David Reed.

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