The trial of Daniel Marsh continued with testimony from his closest friend and his girlfriend. Alvaro Garibay was called to the stand first. The small 18-year-old high school senior, wearing glasses and with dark shoulder length hair partially in a ponytail, testified that they were almost like brothers. Daniel’s girlfriend, a beautiful, slim, 16-year-old girl with long straight hair was second, and her name was ordered withheld due to her age. Both witnesses did their best to describe Daniel’s life leading up to the murders.
Alvaro and Daniel met on the third day of school in seventh grade. Both of the boys suffered from depression and helped each other to come out of it by spending up to four nights a week at each other’s house playing video games, listening to metal music, playing guitar and smoking marijuana.
Alvaro testified that Daniel’s first threats of physical harm occurred in the seventh grade. He stated that Daniel’s mom, Sherry, moved her girlfriend, Martie, into the home and Daniel blamed Martie for his parents’ break up. Alvaro said Daniel “wished he could kill her because she is such a b—,” but Alvaro thought he was just joking.
In eighth grade, the boys began dating girls. Daniel began working out and building his muscles. Alvaro thought it was because Daniel was a small person, who wanted to look better for the girls, and who had also been bullied. Daniel began drinking protein drinks (Ensure) and lifting weights. The two began to grow apart, partly because Alvaro was not interested in such activities, and maybe because Daniel started dating Alvaro’s ex-girlfriend.
After several months of not talking, Daniel approached Alvaro to be friends again in the 9th grade. They became close almost immediately. Shortly thereafter, a friend of Daniel’s sister was staying at his house. Daniel had a crush on her, but Alvaro claimed he did not know about it and had sex with the girl once. Daniel became very thin and was not eating. Alvaro was very worried about Daniel and said that his friend “didn’t understand the importance of food” and that he kept nagging Daniel to eat. Daniel was then placed in a hospital for 2-3 months to treat anorexia. In the hospital Daniel “looked really damaged” and seemed scared.
Tenth grade seemed to be a very complex year for Daniel. Alvaro said Daniel’s mother was schizophrenic and was dying slowly of a neurological condition and Daniel stopped living with his dad because his dad was “a dick.” It was their first year in high school, the boys were smoking marijuana three times a week, playing guitar, sexually experimenting on one occasion, and watching violent internet videos of decapitations, torture and death. Alvaro testified that he introduced Daniel to the girl who would become his, Daniel’s, girlfriend, and for awhile the three hung out regularly as friends.
Alvaro said that he and Daniel began to grow apart, and around the same time, Daniel and the girlfriend became more intimate. According to her testimony, during which she was allowed to refresh her memory from the police report, she and Daniel began dating on December 4, 2012. Ironically, she would break up with him exactly six months later, on June 4, 2013. The week after December 4, 2012, Daniel became very angry about his girlfriend talking regularly to Alvaro. She testified that he had “a little breakdown at school” where he punched the lockers. He was placed in the hospital again for a week. Neither Alvaro nor the girlfriend visited him at that time. Both Alvaro and the girlfriend testified that Daniel talked more about violence after Daniel began dating the girlfriend. The girlfriend testified that Daniel would be fine emotionally for a while, but then he would just “crash,” resulting in depression or talk of violence. He would smoke weed to ”calm his head.” Daniel started drawing violent pictures in art class. He talked about killing people and what he wanted to do to them. He talked about beating up scumbags. Daniel killed a cat and asked Alvaro if he could kill his dog – to which Alvaro initially agreed, then backed out. Daniel made a detailed plan to kill his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend in writing, which was entered into evidence. He told Alvaro about how his meds for “psychosis” suppressed his feelings about violence.
About one month prior to the murders, Daniel became very angry with Alvaro over his continuing friendship with Daniel’s girlfriend. Daniel had read Alvaro’s texts with her while Alvaro was out of the room. Daniel “looked down, his face went black and he said he wanted to choke me.” For the first time, Alvaro thought he was serious and became frightened. He started distancing himself from Daniel; there were no more overnights, he did not share things with him and avoided being around him.
On Saturday, April 13, 2013, neither Alvaro nor Daniel’s girlfriend recalled seeing or speaking with Daniel, but they both remembered very vividly Daniel later telling them about the murders. Alvaro was told on Sunday, but, not wanting to hear any more, decided to smoke and then go home. Daniel said to his girlfriend on Monday, April 15, “My dad’s neighbor got murdered.” She said that he paused, then said with apparent pride, “I did that.” He happily described the events of the early hours of April 14, 2013, in great detail. She did not believe him and did not know how to respond, so she simply went with him to a friend’s house to celebrate Alvaro’s birthday.
Alvaro went over to Daniel’s house on the Tuesday after the murders, seeking more information about the murders – he just could not believe his friend could do such an act. He said it felt “surreal.” Daniel described the events on the night of the murders to Alvaro as the “best feeling in his life.” He then got several items out of his closet to show him, including the knife, gloves, ski cap, boots, and jacket worn the evening of the murders. (Daniel would eventually show his girlfriend the same items.) Alvaro did not know how to respond. He was scared so he said, “That’s cool,” smoked in the backyard, played Call of Duty and went home.
Alvaro and Daniel’s girlfriend were afraid of Daniel, but felt conflicted about telling anyone. Daniel asked his girlfriend’s mom if she heard about the murders and made the remark that “only sick people do that,” which made his girlfriend extremely uncomfortable. At least for the first couple months, Alvaro and the girlfriend did not fear much for their own lives, but mainly feared for each other’s life. Alvaro eventually informed the school that Daniel was carrying a knife at school, which got him suspended, but made Alvaro feel somewhat safer because Daniel was no longer carrying a knife around.
Daniel’s girlfriend, as stated previously, broke up with him on June 4, 2013, because she felt “intimidated” by him. A week or two later, Daniel sneaked into his girlfriend’s house around midnight. She rapidly texted Alvaro, at that point fearing for her life, but Daniel simply wanted to talk. The next day, Alvaro tried to tell Daniel’s dad about the murders, but the father did not believe him. After driving all over Davis looking for a payphone to place an anonymous tip, he called the police. They convinced him to come into the station and questioned him for several hours, even accusing him of taking part in the murders. Daniel was arrested the next day.