By Jordan Lee
On Friday, Judge David Reed of the Yolo County Superior Court sentenced a 17-year-old teenager from Davis to 52 years of state prison. However, because he committed the crime as a juvenile, he will be eligible for parole in 25 years. He will be 42 years old.
Judge Reed during his sentencing comments noted that Daniel Marsh was proud of what he did and mutilated the victims due to morbid curiosity. He said that, while there was always the possibility and potential for rehabilitation, he was unwilling to give Mr. Marsh a reduced sentence of 25 years to life, as Deputy Public Defender Ron Johnson had argued for.
Assistant Chief Deputy DA Michael Cabral had on the other hand argued to the judge that in his 28 years as a prosecutor, he had never seen such a heinous and reprehensible act. He said that Mr. Marsh had “an evil soul.” He argued, “This case screams out for 52 years to life. Nothing else would be appropriate.”
In 2013, Daniel Marsh was charged with the first-degree murder of 87-year-old Oliver Northup and 76-year-old Claudia Maupin, while they were sleeping in their Davis home. The jury found him guilty on two first-degree murder charges with enhancements of an assault with a deadly weapon, lying and waiting, and torture.
Mr. Marsh, during an interrogation by police, said that in April of 2013, he wandered the south Davis neighborhood until he found an open window. He entered the house with the intent to murder. Finding the victims asleep, he stood there for ten minutes until Claudia Maupin awoke. He then sprang at her and stabbed her and her husband repeatedly. He testified, saying, “The old lady just would not die.”
Crime scene investigators later found the two bodies with organs eviscerated from the bodies. They even found Claudia Maupin’s cellular phone lodged into her stomach. He later told investigators that “it felt right,” “it felt amazing,” and “it felt great.” Mr. Marsh was a 15-years-old at the time of the murder.
Deputy District Attorney Amanda Zambor stated in her opening that Marsh’s actions on that night were “calculating, cunning and sadistic.” DDA Cabral stated that Marsh took pleasure in torturing the two victims, “bragging about the crime to friends.”
Mr. Marsh’s attorney argued that his mental health was a factor in this case and asked for a lesser sentence. His attorney asserted that Mr. Marsh is still a young child who deserves at least the opportunity to reform himself. Judge Reed found insufficient evidence of insanity, but took note of Mr. Marsh’s age.
After the murder phase was over, jurors had to determine Marsh’s sanity during the commission of the crimes. It took jurors a little over two hours to decide that Marsh was sane at the time.
A few jurors were seen to be shedding tears as the clerk read the verdict.
During the four-week trial, several doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and counselors took the stand to talk about Marsh’s background and his state of mind for the previous couple of years.
Medical and mental health witnesses, including those designated as experts by the court, had contradicting theories as to Marsh’s mindset, some stating, “He was playing up his statements for the NGI [not guilty by reason of insanity] defense.”
But other health professionals who testified said that Marsh could very well have been in a “dissociative state during the commission [of the acts].” Even the state’s forensic doctor could not rule out the possibility of a “dissociative state,” opining that the possibility had just not been looked into further.
Marsh had expressed his suicidal and homicidal thoughts for a period of at least two years before the deaths of the elderly couple. But, keeping confidentiality, health professionals did not report it to the police.
Defense attributed much of Marsh’s actions to the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) doctors had prescribed. Deputy Public Defender Johnson expressed to jurors during his closing how the system had failed Marsh, and “we also know that his parents were not on top of things.”
He was tried as an adult and was found by a jury to be guilty on all counts and all enhancements. However, due to his age, Judge Reed stayed enhancements of lying and waiting and torture. The total term was 52 years in state prison.
Mr. Marsh will be sent next month to a state juvenile detention facility. He will be transferred to state prison when he turns 18.