Coverage of Day Four of the Marsh Trial: Victims Attempted Defense

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courthouseEditor’s note: We had two separate articles covering day four of the trial and are posting both.

by Charmayne Schmitz

On September 5, 2014, day four in the murder trial of Daniel Marsh, the pathologist completed his testimony. He explained the general procedure. After a body is removed from the bag, photos are taken. Then the body is examined for trace evidence before it is cleaned. All autopsies examine the complete outer body, regardless of what type of injury the victim has. Not all organs are looked at, except the liver which is examined for toxicity. The pathologist starts at the head and works downward, outward to the extremities then to the back, until the examination is complete. The back is not examined unless it is absolutely necessary because flipping a body over can disturb evidence.

In this case, an X-ray was taken of each body while it was still in the bag. The X-ray revealed a drinking glass in the body of Oliver “Chip” Northup and a cell phone inserted in the abdomen of Claudia Maupin.

Mr. Northup had 65 separate wounds that could be discerned, from head to legs. In a stabbing like this, it is difficult to be exact because some of the wounds are exit wounds and some are interconnected. So, the number of wounds does not indicate how many times he was stabbed.

Some wounds to the hands and legs indicate that Mr. Northup may have tried to defend himself, but the pathologist believes both victims were rendered unconscious in a few minutes.

The other victim, Claudia Maupin, had 74 wounds, spread over the body. One of the stabbings caused a tooth to be knocked out. One cut on the leg only went deep enough to reveal the fat layer.

In the opinion of the pathologist, the cause of death for both victims was multiple stab wounds. Only the coroner, who testified next, can give the official assessment of cause of death. Chief Deputy Coroner Gina Mayo was only on the stand for a short time. She began before the lunch break.

One of the alternate jurors submitted a note stating that she had met Gina Mayo at a party last Christmas. The matter was taken up in the judge’s chambers. When court resumed, the coroner stated the official causes of death to be homicide. She was then excused. At the end of the day, the meeting was discussed again behind closed doors.

Kevin Green, a former friend of Daniel Marsh, testified next. Kevin and Daniel played in a metal band together. Marsh was arrested at Kevin’s home. They had been friends since 2012. Kevin claimed they were friends but not “best friends,” although Marsh slept over an average of two nights a week from the end of 2012 until his arrest.

They met through a mutual friend, named Alva. Alva quit the band in April of 2013 and stopped hanging out with Kevin and Daniel. Kevin claimed Alva asked him “Do you even know what he [Daniel] is capable of?”

When Daniel Marsh was at Kevin’s house, they played video games, smoked marijuana and drank alcohol. Marsh liked to watch horror movies and visit a website, bestgore.com. Marsh seemed to be infatuated with Ted Bundy and other serial killers, keeping a notebook and drawings detailing ways to torture people. Kevin claimed that he never saw Marsh hallucinate and he seemed coherent. Kevin testified that Marsh said if he ever got caught for a fantasy murder he would claim insanity. Marsh never admitted he killed anyone, he only said he wanted to.

Kevin continued hanging out with Marsh until June of 2013, when Marsh was arrested. When Deputy DA Amanda Zambor asked why, Kevin said he was afraid for his life. Kevin hoped if he kept showing Daniel love and friendship, Daniel would change.

On cross-examination by Deputy Public Defender Ron Johnson, Kevin was asked why he didn’t contact the police if he was afraid, especially after Daniel was locked up. Kevin didn’t return calls from the defense in 2013 and the first meeting with any authority was with the prosecutor’s office on July 30, 2014. When repeatedly questioned about this, Kevin continued to say he was afraid. He also revealed that he was 20 years old and living with his parents at the time of Marsh’s arrest. When Kevin was working until 3 am he would pick up Marsh and take him home with him. He claimed this was to keep Marsh away from harming others. Johnson asked if they had a “special” relationship. Kevin denied it. It was then revealed that Marsh’s comment about “copping an insanity plea” was first related to authorities on September 4, 2014. Kevin claimed he only remembered it yesterday.

During Kevin’s testimony, Daniel Marsh was more animated. In previous testimony, he sat with his head down. But, Kevin’s answers caused Marsh to whisper several times in his attorney’s ear. When Kevin related Marsh’s plan to plead insanity, the defendant shook his head no several times.

Later, Marsh’s former girlfriend took the stand. She claimed she never saw him angry or hallucinating, and believed he was honest with her. He did get in a fight once with one of her former boyfriends. They were together about 6 months in 2012.

The trial will resume Monday, September 8, at 9am.

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Former Bandmate Denies Friendship (with Marsh); Pathologist Claims Victims Attempted Defense in Marsh Murder Case

by Saghi Nojoomi and Katie Wu

On Friday, a former band member denied any friendship with Defendant Daniel Marsh, after an expert pathologist testified that several wounds on Oliver Northup and Claudia Maupin, the elderly Davis couple murdered in April of 2013, suggest that both attempted to defend themselves.

Daniel Marsh, 17, is accused and charged with the murder of Oliver Northup and Claudia Maupin, who were attacked and stabbed in their unlocked Davis home early in the hours of April 14, 2013, as they slept. The defendant, once regarded as a teen hero in 2009 for taking over the wheel of the family’s station wagon, steering to safety, and saving his father’s life by hitting the man in the chest after he suffered a terrifying heart attack at the wheel, is now at the center of an infamous court case. If convicted, Daniel Marsh faces life in prison.

Expert Forensic Pathologist Mark Super began the fourth day of the jury trial by testifying about each individual injury on the two elderly Davis residents. As Super was questioned by Assistant Chief DDA Michael Cabral, the pathologist confirmed a total of 67 stab wounds and cuts on the female victim’s body. The high number of wounds on both victims’ bodies does not completely tell the whole story of how deep and painful the wounds were.

Major stab wounds to the male’s body that contributed to the horrific homicide were to the throat, chest, hands, and lower half of legs. Super validated the deep cuts on the wounds through referencing and describing the autopsy pictures. Three stab wounds on the right side of the neck caused a fatal blow to the jugular vein, which, if not surgically treated immediately, would mean death in just minutes. The anterior torso had nine clustered, oriented stab wounds – since they were facing the same direction. The male’s left chest wall had about a 4 ½  inch gap cut. The cut was carved so that the weapon broke through the eighth rib, which severed the left lung. This led Super to find there to be 800 milliliters of blood in the left chest cavity.

As for the lower half of the body, severe stab wounds on his right back hand and lower left leg indicated that the victim was aware of the assault and attempted to defend himself in some way. The ½ long inch stab wounds on the victim’s lower back hand ran through his finger bones, which severed the tendon and caused a hemorrhage. The male’s palm had a deep horizontal cut from grabbing where the blade was. The deep injuries from the left leg indicated that the knife was swung in one single direction– making the knife enter from one part of the leg to exiting out from another part of the leg.

As for the female’s body, significant injuries were on the left side of her face, neck, and abdomen.  The face was carved at an angle that struck the cheek through the oral cavity. The female had a 2-3 inch stab on the right side of the neck. This ultimately carved up to the mouth, thyroid gland, and tongue. Next was her back, which had three stab wounds that were deep enough to hit the surface of the spine, but not deep enough to penetrate through the cavity. Then it was her left chest and breast that suffered internal injuries. The blow to the female’s chest was significant because Super found blood clots forming around that area, which implied that the victim was still alive at the time and her body was still able to form enzymes for blood clots. Subsequently, due to the blood clotting, Super found 100 milliliters of blood down in the abdomen, and there should be no blood there at all. Lastly, a major wound on the female’s body was on her abdomen where the stabbings carved out a Y-shape from both side of the ribs down to the belly button. The most horrifying part of this cut was that a black Nokia cell phone was found inside of her abdomen. Though the cuts were deep, Super could not determine the definite length of the weapon since there was the possibility that the knife may not have run completely into the body during penetration.

Mr. Cabral’s third witness, Kevin Green, explained in testimony that, while he spent a considerable amount of time with the defendant during sleepovers and band practices, he always viewed Daniel Marsh as band member and not a true friend. The witness claimed that after he met Marsh through a mutual friend, the three would often participate in band practices about two to three times a week at his house. According to the witness, Marsh would spend nights at his house beginning in November of 2012, where the three friends would often play the video games, World of Warcraft and League of Legends, while also listening to and practicing metal music from bands such as System of the Down and Sleeping with Sirens. After recounting the activities that he would participate in, the witness claimed that often times he and his friends would spend time watching horror movies and that Marsh had an active and keen interest in that genre.

Although they spent a considerable amount of time together, the witness, Kevin Green, stated that he always viewed Marsh as a friend of another band member and that it wasn’t until that member had departed from the group in April 2013, that he began to view Marsh as a closer friend. When asked if he could explain why the member left the group, the witness claimed that the member had once asked him: “Do you [Green] know what he is capable of?” In an effort to continue his testimony, the witness stated that the defendant had once showed him a “disturbing” website that displayed videos, pictures, and stories of executions and various deaths. Despite his previous statement, the witness clarified that he believed that the defendant did not hear voices and had been conscious and aware during the time they spent together. When asked if the defendant had ever gotten extremely angered, Green recounted a time when Marsh had arrived at his house claiming over and over again that he “didn’t do anything to him [the previous band member],” before punching the door with his fist. Green claimed that he still does not know what transpired between the defendant and the former band member.

After explaining that Daniel Marsh’s obsession with dark and frightening things scared him, the witness explained that he often “prayed that if he showed him [Marsh] friendship and love he wouldn’t do those things [bad things] to me.” For this reason, the witness claimed that he continued his “friendship” with the defendant, despite the fear he felt. When asked about the day Marsh was arrested, the witness claimed that both he and Marsh were awakened to find the police asking for them and, while Marsh was not nervous, he was “relieved that he [Marsh] was out of his life.” Although he admitted to smoking marijuana at band practices, the witness claimed that while he was questioned he lied about any involvement with the drug. Although he never told investigators or the police, the witness stipulated that the defendant had once told him that if he were ever accused of a murder he would plead insanity.

During cross-examination, Deputy Public Defender Ron Johnson questioned the witness on why he ever denied smoking marijuana with the defendant at band practices. According the witness, the fear of having Marsh come back into his life forced him to deny any involvement with the defendant and the drug during questioning. When asked how denying ever using the drug could bring Defendant Daniel Marsh back into his life, the witness stated that he was afraid and that painful memories would have arisen. Before continuing, Mr. Johnson questioned what memories could possibly be brought up that would not have been brought up as he testified. Mr. Johnson continued the examination, when he inquired why the witness allowed the defendant to sleep over at his house from April to June if he was so frightened by him, to which the witness once again stated that he believed that if he “showed love and compassion he [the defendant] wouldn’t kill me.”

Before concluding the cross-examination, Mr. Johnson asked the witness why he never contacted the defense counsel’s investigator after they tried several times to reach him. Mr. Johnson questioned why the witness never told police or the defense counsel’s investigator about the defendant stating that he would plead insanity should he be accused of a murder. When the witness admitted that he only remembered that statement last night, Johnson remarked that the witness should have been fully ready to testify on Wednesday as he was scheduled before the court ran out of time. Before ending, Johnson asked the witness if he asked where the defendant was being taken and why his laptop was being confiscated when he was arrested. When the witness stated once more that he was scared of the defendant, Mr. Johnson asked why he would be scared if the defendant was in 24-hour police custody, to which the witness finally admitted that he “does not know what that means.”

When the People’s last witness, Daniel Marsh’s ex-girlfriend, took the stand she testified to sharing common ground with the defendant who often cared for her. During her testimony, the witness stated that often times both the defendant and she would cut themselves as a method of combating their depression.

The trial is set to continue Monday morning at 9.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch puts 8 to 12 interns into the Yolo County House to monitor and report on what happens. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org

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