Analysis: Is Marsh Conviction Much More Precarious Than Anyone Wants to Believe?

2013 Murder Scene on Cowell Blvd in Davis
2013 Murder scene on Cowell Blvd. in Davis

This weekend the Davis Enterprise put out an article on the Marsh trial which highlighted the difficult and challenging nature of such a case. As Davis Police Lt. Glenn Glasgow told the paper, it was a double homicide “with no suspect whatsoever.”

As the article describes it, the break came out of nowhere – a phone call from a friend of Daniel Marsh with details of the crime that had not been publicly released. Then a second call.

That led to a plan to bring Daniel Marsh to the police station where a “a five-hour interview led by FBI Special Agent Chris Campion” led to a confession. Deputy DA Amanda Zambor told the paper, “Really, there was nothing to associate him with this crime — not a hair, not a fingerprint.”

The comment by Ms. Zambor dovetails with what former Deputy DA Michael Cabral, the lead prosecutor on the case, has said – without the confession, the police and prosecutors had little to go on.

The interesting question is, without a confession, would they have had enough to convict Mr. Marsh? That question goes from the theoretical to a very real scenario when we analyze the confession itself.

Back in February of 2014, Judge David Reed denied a defense motion to suppress 16-year-old Daniel Marsh’s confession to Davis Police on June 17, 2013. The defense argued that, despite the apparent intelligence and sophistication of the young Daniel Marsh, the interrogation began under false pretenses and Mr. Marsh made repeated requests to go home.

The defense argued that these represented evidence that the prosecution failed to meet the standard that the confession was voluntary and that Mr. Marsh, despite being read his Miranda rights, intelligently waived those rights.

During that suppression hearing, Andrea Pelochino of the Public Defender’s office argued that Daniel Marsh’s youth, inexperience and mental health challenges made him uniquely susceptible to the suggestions of law enforcement and a veteran FBI special agent.

Ms. Pelochino cited research on juvenile susceptibility versus that of adults to confess or possibly falsely confess under pressure.  She argued that his apparent sophistication does not matter.

She argued that his past experiences with law enforcement made him more and not less vulnerable.  He had developed a level of trust for Officer Ellsworth, who used that trust to lure Mr. Marsh to the police station under a false guise that he would be dealing with a wholly different matter.  He told him that he would call his mother as a way for Mr. Marsh to relax, but did not do so.

Mr. Marsh was a juvenile. His mother was not allowed to be present. He had no lawyer. There was no one acting in loco parentis here.

The second question is that, while he initially waived his Miranda rights, at what point did he reassert them? When the judge ruled on whether Marsh reasserted Miranda, he noted that, under Miranda v. Arizona, there is no magic word or combination of words that create the renewed right to remain silent after Miranda rights are initially waived.

The judge then evaluated whether the repeated requests to go home were the invocation of the right to remain silent.  He evaluated the circumstances in which Marsh’s requests were at first ignored – then eventually Marsh was told that he could not go home, that he was going to be arrested and detained at the juvenile detention facility.

Judge Reed ruled that Marsh’s request was ambiguous or equivocal.

But the experts we talked to at the time were skeptical of the judge’s ruling on Miranda, noting that courts have to give juveniles the benefit of the doubt, that they may not know their rights or be able to assert them the way an adult would.

Judge Reed ruled, however, that in this case the evidence does not show the defendant having difficulty communicating, and therefore he never invoked his right to remain silent when he asked to go home.

The third problem here is the length of the interrogation. His was only five hours, but for a juvenile to be under that kind of pressure and separated from support mechanisms is a long time. Eventually, not able to end the interview, not able to assert his right to remain silent, he broke down.

What is particularly troubling here is the way that the police managed to do this. As Ms. Pelochino argued at the suppression hearing, the police and FBI agent carefully crafted a theme to capitalize on Mr. Marsh’s youth, inexperience and mental health infirmities.  The FBI agent lured him into a false sense of security, offering to “help” Mr. Marsh and to “heal” him.

We heard this when the confession was played during the trial.

We see this at play during the confession when Mr. Marsh at times wanted to leave or have his parents present, but was denied both of those. In a hearing this past spring, Judge Reed allowed the confession, but we can see the problems.

Veteran FBI Special Agent Chris Campion repeatedly told Daniel that he was his healer: “Now, Daniel, this is your time to heal, I am here to heal you, this is your refuge.”

This is a common tactic by interrogators – they create conflict and attempt to back the individual into the corner so that he or she sees the only way out of the situation is to confess.

Research finds, “Youth are more naive, trusting, fearful and more easily misled. Investigators can more easily suggest to juveniles that they face harsher consequences if they don’t confess, and much lesser consequences if they do. After hours of interrogation, studies have shown, many youthful suspects will conform their stories to cues from detectives, believing they can then finally go home.”

Police and prosecutors like to use a totality of the circumstances argument, and here we offer one.

We have always believed that ultimately this confession would go to the appellate courts during an appeal. The question then becomes how likely is it that an appellate court would throw out the confession and, if they do, would the prosecutors still have enough to convict Mr. Marsh?

Those are key questions, but it is clear that throwing out the confession would make it far more difficult to convict Mr. Marsh of the murders.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Barack Palin

    David, are you saying that you think that Marsh might actually be innocent or just that you didn’t agree with the way the cops interrogated him?

    1. David Greenwald

      I don’t have a question whether he committed the act, but the confession seemed to come from interrogation methods that violated his Miranda rights and call into question whether he issued his confession voluntarily.  I mean to stop the interrogation and they did not.  The trial judge wasn’t about to suppress the confession, but an appellate court might.

      1. Biddlin

        Well then let’s just throw the whole arrest and trial out and Danny can come home and be with those who cherish and honour him, The Vanguard should host an event.


        1. BrianElsasser

          Marsh knew about the legality of the situation he was in vis a vis Miranda. How could he not? He heard his rights under Miranda because the police read them to him. He had attended classes in forensics and legal matters at the Davis PD before the terrible murders.

          All he had to do was shut  up.

          But his ego and sickness drove him to confess.


      2. zaqzaq

        When did he specifically ask for an attorney?  You mention it but do not describe it as one or the three issues raised by the defense attorney.  One would think that failing to comply with that request would be fatal and more persuasive than the age of Marsh or the length of the interrogation.

        1. David Greenwald

          As I go back over my notes, this is the argument that Andrea Pelochino made: she argued that he made repeated requests to go home, which were akin to a newly-asserted right to remain silent after the conditions of the interview changed. It was only after the investigators ignored Mr. Marsh’s repeated requests that he confessed after being played a phone conversation between two of his friends.

        2. zaqzaq


          You stated,

          ” I mean, he asked for an attorney and to stop the interrogation and they did not.”

          So neither of the above is accurate but only the defense attorney’s interpretation of his requests to go home.  You adopted a major twisting of the facts through interpretation by the defense attorney and stated it as fact.  That is neither responsible journalism nor commenting.

          1. David Greenwald

            Sorry, I will amend the comment – my memory from a year and a half ago was a bit fuzzy on the exact claim. His request was to go home – stated multiple times is in my view a clear attempt to stop the interrogation. My understanding of laws regarding juveniles in custody suggest that the courts need to be aware that they are less likely to officer formal assertions of rights. The prosecution’s case was premised on the idea that Mr. Marsh despite his age was more sophisticated than most. As I said, it becomes a matter for the appellate court to decide at what point did he attempt to end the interrogation – if he did – and whether the police ignoring his requests constituted a change of circumstance as the defense offered.

  2. Tia Will

    Well then let’s just throw the whole arrest and trial out and Danny can come home and be with those who cherish and honour him, The Vanguard should host an event.”

    There is a huge difference in asserting that we need to exercise caution in how confessions are obtained, and asserting that Mr. Marsh should be released and brought home. I see the circumstances of a confession obtained by telling an obviously ill individual that they will be healed only by confession as one obtained under false premises and duress. If you disagree, how would you feel about the following three scenarios:

    1) Interrogator tells an asthmatic that they can only have their inhaler after they confess ?

    2) How about the interrogator tells a diabetic that they can only have their insulin after confession ?

    3) Or the interrogator tells a person with pneumonia that they can have their antibiotics after confession ?

    How would any of these scenarios be substantially different from telling a mentally ill juvenile that his one opportunity for healing was confession ?

    1. Barack Palin

      I think you’re really stretching on this.  Your examples all require the interrogator to withhold medicine which would obviously be wrong.  Just telling someone that telling the truth will heal them is a far cry from withholding their meds.


      1. Tia Will


        No, my examples do not require that the interrogator withhold medicine. It only requires that the person being interrogated believes that this will happen. This is the problem that I see with lying to a suspect in order to acquire a confession. It is only necessary that the suspect believe that the lie is credible.

    2. Edgar Wai

      Is there somewhere we can read or listen to the interrogation?

      In your analogy, the person being detained would need to know that they have an illness. So what was the context of “healing” in that interrogation? Was it:

      A) some illness that he knew he had

      B) the guilt from the assumed murder

      C) the still existing murderous urges


      If a person had no “illness” and kept offering to be healed, they would just get angry wouldn’t they? Their response would not be “I want to go home” but “why do you keep saying I am sick”?

      1. Tia Will


        I believe that you are making a legitimate point. From previous reporting on this case it would appear that Mr. Marsh (bear in mind that he was 15 at the time) was suffering and knew that his mind was not working in a way that we would consider normal. He may not have known the details of his illness ( many of my adult patients cannot provide the exact name of their illnesses) but it would appear that he was aware that he was ill and in need of help. This knowledge would appear to me to be enough to meet the criteria of my example.

  3. Biddlin

    You know, I seem to recall the sitting POTUS declaring Charles Manson guilty, before the trial was a week old. That surely must have influenced the jury. Let’s give Charley a “do over,” too. Or, as my mother would advise,”Let sleeping dogs lie.”


      1. Barack Palin

        So what do you and David want?  Do you want the conviction thrown out?  Do you want the possibility of Marsh walking the streets again?  What are you advocating for?

        1. David Greenwald

          Given the confession, I think there is a good possibility that the conviction gets thrown out. Then the question is whether they have enough without the confession? Do I want that to happen? Not particularly, but maybe the police should have thought about it before they tried to get a confession out of a 16 year old interrogated without parents or attorneys present.

        2. zaqzaq

          David states,

          “maybe the police should have thought about it before they tried to get a confession out of a 16 year old interrogated without parents or attorneys present.”.

          Maybe they did?  Would they be in any different position with an attorney there if the appellate court throws out the confession?  Any defense attorney with a pulse would stop the interview until after Marsh had talked to the attorney.  Most parents would stop the interview.  Think that one through David.  The police are under no obligation to obtain an attorney for a suspect out of their own good will.  All they have to do is inform the suspect that they do not have to talk and that they can have an attorney which they did here.  I am not tracking your thought process here unless it is to prevent the police from doing their job which is public safety and solving crimes.  Otherwise it is not a very bright comment.

        3. Tia Will


          I am advocating for police and interrogators not lying to, threatening, or making false promises in order to coerce a confession. I have never advocated for Mr. Marsh “walking the streets again” and am not sure whether this is a question, or just a jerk of the chain on your part since I have indicated many, many times that I believe that Mr. Marsh is dangerous and should be segregated from society for our safety.

          However, I do not believe in an “ends justifies the means approach” to law enforcement or obtaining confessions. If we are going to suspend the civil rights of suspects, what will stop us from resorting to other currently illegal methods such as torture to obtain a confession if the interrogator is “sure enough” of the guilt of the individual ?

        4. Davis Progressive

          zz: it seems to me that all too often juveniles are run over by the police in trying to get a confession.  often enough they have succeeded in coercing a false confession.  the question an appellate court will have to decide however is whether the confession under the circumstances was voluntary.

          while i agree with you that the police are not obligated to get the kid an attorney, they are obligated to stop the interview when a juvenile requests it, the change of circumstance should have then triggered a need to re-mirandize the kid, at which point he could have asserted his right to counsel and stopped the interview right there.

          will an appellate court decide it that way?  i don’t know, but i think things are headed in that direction with the recognition by the courts of the problematic nature of confessions.

        5. zaqzaq


          March could have gone free if they did not obtain the interview.  The police acted professionally in their contact with Marsh and obtained a statement that clearly matched the physical evidence.  It was not illegally coerced.  The defense had to find something wrong with the confession to try to keep it from the jury.  It appears the some readers here have bought the defense argument.  The defense strategy appeared to be to attack the confession and create a contrived insanity defense which the jury who sat through the entire trial saw it for what it was, a defense grasping at straws and came back with a quick verdict.  I do not believe that the appellate court will go down the rabbit hole that is being presented here.  Only time will tell.

        1. Davis Progressive

          the question he asked was whether you believe that there should be a dangerous person exemption to the constitution.  the problem being of course is how do you determine who is a dangerous person and doesn’t that ultimately leave you with no protections for anyone.  but of course you don’t want to debate that, you want to throw out the idea that marsh is a bad guy and who wants to release a bad guy along with your asserted but not argued defense for the confession.

      2. Biddlin

        I have no issue at all with the confession. I don’t imagine an appallate court will either, but that’s we have horse races. What I can’t conceive of is the level of gullibility so often displayed in these posts.


        1. Davis Progressive

          i disagree.  i think there are a lot of problems with interrogating a juvenile under false pretences, denying him access to his mother, and denying his request to stop the interview.

    1. Davis Progressive

      the appeal process is slow, they file immediately for a notice of appeal and then have years to submit the actual brief.  look at the ajay dev cases, they are five, almost six years past the conviction and the case still hasn’t been heard.  justice is very slow.

  4. Tia Will


    So it seems that you do not have any difficulty with the police lying to the 16 year old Mr. Marsh by telling him that his mother would be called, and then proceeding with interrogation without contacting her. Is there an age at which you would have a problem with this process ? How about a 14 year old ? A really precocious 10 or 12 year old ?  My question is sincere since part of the prosecutions presentation seems to have been centered around Mr.Marsh’s relative level of sophistication for his age determined on what would appear to be subjective criteria from what has been reported.

    1. sisterhood

      He repeatedly asked for his mother and they lied to him, telling him they had contacted her. Five hours is a very long time for anyone, even an adult, to be interrogated. This confession should be thrown out & they should start all over again. Any parent with a 15 or 16 year old would not want their child to be treated this way. I wonder if Daniel is getting the proper mental help treatment in prison?

      In no way am I excusing this heinous crime or suggesting he walk free. I believe he needs ongoing mental health treatment in a locked facility. I feel very sorry for the victims and their family.

      1. Biddlin

        News flash: Cops lie all the time. It isn’t illegal in the interrogation room or on the street, only under oath in court.(They lie there, frequently as well, but you never hear about them being prosecuted for perjury, do you?)



        1. Tia Will

          News flash:  Just because something is legal does not make it either moral or ethical. It does not mean that it should be legal. We have seen torture justified as legal within my lifetime, something I would never believe I would have seen “justified” and yet there it was as a “ends justify the means argument”.

          It has been and is now my opinion that the police and prosecutors should not be allowed to lie to obtain confessions.


        2. hpierce

          You are so correct in the distinction between moral/ethical and legal Tia.  Yet, your professional specialty focuses on the ‘legal’ in many areas.

    2. zaqzaq


      Police are legally allowed to lie to suspects and witnesses when conducting their investigations.  Get over it.  If they are not required to bring in a parent or lawyer for a suspect why would they if their goal is to obtain the truth about a crime?  If a child murdered someone I would want the police to use all legal tools at their disposal to get to the bottom of it regardless of the age of the child.

      1. Tia Will


        Police are legally allowed to lie to suspects and witnesses when conducting their investigations.  Get over it.  If they are not required to bring in a parent or lawyer for a suspect why would they if their goal is to obtain the truth about a crime?  If a child murdered someone I would want the police to use all legal tools at their disposal to get to the bottom of it regardless of the age of the child.”

        I have no intention of “getting over” what I see as a moral wrong. First I do not believe that the goal of police and prosecutors is always to “obtain the truth” about a crime. I believe that being human, they frequently have already decided that they know what “the truth is” and will use any method to get the suspect to say what they want to hear, which may or may not coincide with the truth. What I would like to see is the current law permitting lying to suspects changed since I believe that it is fundamentally an oxymoron that asserts that justice will be served by allowing those in power to lie. Justice is not based on lies, but on seeking the truth through one’s own actions and investigations.

        I do not now and have never claimed that I believe that Mr. Marsh did not commit this crime. It is the principle that is at stake since on this occasion it was Mr. Marsh who was deceived. On another occasion, it could be an innocent being deceived. It could be you or me, or one of our children. I am not willing to support a law or practice that I believe is morally bankrupt.

  5. Sulla

    The legal axiom first enunciated in the 18th century comes to mind:  “Confession is the worst sort of Evidence”, . . . unless there is other proof that connects the Defendant with the criminal act.  The reason for this rule is because people “confess” to crimes they did not actually commit.  There are various reasons why people do this, one of which is that the “confession” exonerates others who were actually involved in the crime.

        1. Barack Palin

          I’m responding to Sulla”s:

           “Confession is the worst sort of Evidence”, . . . unless there is other proof that connects the Defendant with the criminal act.

          which I stated yes, there was backing evidence.

  6. Lisa

    Why are we even talking about this??? Daniel Marsh is where he belongs, and the victims families can hopefully begin to pick the pieces back up from the HORRIBLE murders they’ve had to endure! Seriously. It’s actually insensitive to the victims families to even be worrying about the killers confession and conviction. The cops were well within their rights to obtain the confession they needed to have a solid case. They could not afford to pussy foot around like all these liberal Davis quacks who want to be so politically correct. Sorry. They are doing their jobs to ensure that the evil murderer will pay for his crime, and to not be let free due to some pathetic technicality. Thank God for them! And David, when you infer that Daniel was without his support system or his mother. Cry me a river! It was MORE than clear that he was not really looking for his parents. He wanted nothing to do with any of them, and vise versa as we all saw during the trial. His own mother couldn’t even reschedule her medical procedures to ensure she’d be at her sons sentencing. I mean, who does that!?! Not an involved one– that’s for sure. This all needs to stop. Why not discuss the culpability of his parents? Are we really to believe that they are innocent? They failed him. Not the doctors. The parents are the ones who managed his lack of proper mental health, allowed free roaming at 3am, providing their own buck knife for the slaying to boot. The doctors only know what was told to them. The parents let the killer run wild, and this is all the consequences of not paying attention to a truly sick person…

    RIP Chip & Claudia. May we all keep their families in our thoughts and prayers!

    1. Davis Progressive

      why are we talking about this?  because there is a reasonable chance that the appellate court will overturn the conviction – don’t you want to be prepared?  or would you rather be caught off-guard?

      1. Lisa


        Regardless of the confession, the killer was reported to authorities by his best friend– which led to the discovery of the blood stained clothing and weapon found in his mothers garage. This alone links him to the crime. His conviction will never be overturned, and thankfully he will never be released early. Nevermind the fact that he actually DID MURDER TWO INNOCENT PEOPLE! Even if the confession was to be thrown out, do you really think he will be found not guilty?! I truly hope for the sake of the victims families that any appeal is completely denied. How sad for them to have to go through all that again!

      2. hpierce

        That it is going to appeals… ‘not in evidence’.

        Reasonable chance that IF it does, it will be overturned?  ‘not in evidence’.

        Prepared for what? Off-guard for what?

    2. Biddlin

      I cannot understand why otherwise rational people are so insipidly dedicated to freeing this predator. David, Davis Progressive and Tia will of course deny that this is their intent or desire, but one need only read their pleadings for understanding and compassion for the killer with scant notice of Chip and Claudia at all, to conclude there is no other motive. Davis Progressive offered to house him, when the question was hypothetical, will he extend the offer if Daniel is released?



      1. Lisa

        Well said Biddlin…  I can’t understand either as there is soo little concern and compassion extended to Chip & Claudia’s family. The REAL victims here. (perhaps they are friends and family of the killer?)     I hope the victims families never read the Davis Vanguard.

        1. hpierce

          Trust me… there are at least three families in true grief.  Not to excuse anything but all the events are a true tragedy.  May no one reading this be touched by such a tragedy.

        2. David Greenwald

          I have a lot of concern and compassion for the family and their loss. The point of this piece was not to express hope that one day Marsh would go free, it was to analyze a potential mistake by the authorities that may set that in motion. And btw, I have spoken to some of the members of the family about this and they privately share these concerns. Furthermore, everyone who knew Chip believes that Chip would have been appalled by this interrogation of a minor, that he ironically had been fighting against those kinds of laws all his life. Chip attended our 2012 anti-death penalty event in Woodland and we honored him at our 2013 event in Davis.

        3. Davis Progressive

          lisa – i knew chip.  i worked with him in fact as an attorney.  i don’t think what you’ve posted here, chip would have agreed with.

      2. Tia Will


        I cannot understand why otherwise rational people are so insipidly dedicated to freeing this predator”.

        And I cannot understand why otherwise apparently literate people cannot read the very simple statement that I have made repetitively that I believe that Mr. Marsh is dangerous and should be confined. My preferred place of confinement would be the state mental hospital. However, some of you do not seem to be able to read and comprehend those very simple words. Believing that the confession was obtained under duress does not equate to believing that Mr. Marsh should be released. How is this so difficult to comprehend ?

        1. sisterhood

          Frankly, this was not Charlie Mansion or another hardened adult criminal. He was a 15 (16?) year old with a history of mental illness that could have been made much worse from the drugs he was prescribed. Again, I wonder if he had a physical illness, wouldn’t the doctors keep trying different treatments until they helped his condition? Wouldn’t his parents and teachers have tried harder? There is still such a stigma in our country re: mental illness. The cops did not treat him like someone with a disability when they interrogated him. For Gods sake, even the victims’ family members have problem with the police tactics used. We need to have empathy for the victims’ family and for Mr. Marsh.

          1. David Greenwald

            It doesn’t matter if it was Charles Manson, there is no Charles Manson exemption in the constitution. But the fact that it was a 16 year old goes to the point of the need for caution by interrogators to avoid coercing a false confession. The fact that it was not a false confession is immaterial to the flawed process used here.

  7. Tia Will

    Another disturbing aspect of all of this is how those who are willing to abandon our individual rights under the law, also seem to have claimed their position as the only one that is representative of the family of the victims. I would like to point out the son of one of the victims himself was very quick to distance himself from the writings of Mr. Billingsley. So those who paint themselves as though theirs is the only possible caring position should note that at least some of the family members of the victims are simply not in agreement with their position. I think it is much more appropriate for all posters to speak only for themselves and not wrap themselves in some form of moral superiority that must represent the feelings of the family.

    1. Lisa


      Your repeated postings constantly worrying about Daniel Marshs rights completely undermine the pain and suffering he has caused in murdering Chip & Claudia. Do you not understand that??                         It is not one post, but every single one where you make YOURSELF out to be morally superior because of your medical background. That you can teach us un-elightened folk just how to have compassion to the third victim– little Danny Marsh. It is a huge slap in the face to our jurors who found DM guilty, to Judge Reed for allowing the confession, to the dutiful police officers for trying to protect the public, and the laws itself that we the voters elected. Daniel Marsh was rightfully found guilty with or without the confession. Sorry it wasn’t what you wanted– a sentence to a mental hospital. A mental hospital where he could be released many years prematurely than in his current situation. Deemed fit for society by well intended doctors such as you. This was not a risk the majorty was willing to take.


      1. Lisa


        … and please do not site “coerced confession” or “confession under duress” as a mitigating factor. This is NOT a case of a false confession, and does not need anyone to minimize his consequences for the path he chose and his parents permitted.

        1. sisterhood

          He chose the path of severe mental illness? His parents chose that for their child, really?

          So you believe the ends (lying to and verbally torturing/interrogating a disabled child) justify the means, as long as your civil rights or the rights of your friends and family are never violated. That is not very patriotic, imho…

      2. David Greenwald

        “A mental hospital where he could be released many years prematurely than in his current situation. Deemed fit for society by well intended doctors such as you.”

        I did research on the issue. It’s a misconception that Marsh if found not guilty by reason of insanity would ever be released. Look at Hinkley who shot Reagan, he’s still in the hospital and it’s been 35 years.

        Here’s the research I did for another case on the CONREP program, scroll about halfway down:

        1. Robert Canning

          The law for Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI), Penal Code Sec. 1026, is very clear.

          1) The person is held in a state hospital until the maximum date of what their sentence would be. In Daniel Marsh’s case that would be 26 years (is that right David?).

          2) The commitment to hospital can be extended in two-year increments if a jury finds that the individual continues to be a danger to the public because of a serious mental disorder.

          3) The director of the state hospital (or the committed individual) can petition for “restoration of sanity” and must have a hearing. They would then be sent to a community program (CONREP) for a year or more and have another hearing before their sanity can be restored.

    2. sisterhood

      Naive readers are quick to abandon their civil rights because they have never had them taken away, or threatened to be taken away, personally. Let one of their family members have a seriously bad interaction with police or the D.A. and see how they react.

      1. Lisa


        I’m not sure if you just wish the laws were different where law enforcement officers are required to only question suspects with unequivocal truthfulness? Or do you misunderstand that in police interrogations they are specifically trained to obtain a confession via deceit, fabrications, and lies? How else do you catch a criminal who will surely do worse things than lying to evade arrest??? The Davis Police Department was lawful in the videotaped questioning of DM. They did nothing wrong. He was offered his Miranda rights, which he then waived. Judge Reed decided it was lawful and not illegal in any way shape or form. Is it sad to read that you feel something illegal was done to DM. His civil rights were not violated no matter how much you may feel they were. Understanding and supporting that even when the results don’t favor your desires are indeed the MOST patriotic. This is all the consequensces for going down a path of destruction and having parents not protect their child. I have a 21 yr old nephew that is serving a mandatory 9 year prison sentence for burglary in the 3rd degree. No weapon was used, no one was present during the crime, all non-violent. He is being held in an upstate New York supermax prison nicknamed ‘Siberia’. While it’s upsetting to my sister whose son is being held with far worse criminals– murderers and rapists. I still believe this is the natural consequences when someone goes down the path of destruction by disrespecting authority, doing drugs, and having uninvolved parents that could have thwarted this years ago. My nephew was a statistic waiting to happen. What we can learn from the DM case and others like it is to educate ourselves to be aware of the importance of really knowing your kid. I’m posting on this article because I feel it is a backward approach to be discussing DM and “his rights”, etc. The Marsh family now live with the consequences of all their actions. I pray the appeals process is denied and we can move foward and shift our focus onto early interventions. That will be much more productive and helpful to our society.

        1. Tia Will


          Understanding and supporting that even when the results don’t favor your desires are indeed the MOST patriotic.”

          I do not understand your point. How does the issue of patriotism enter this discussion for you ?

  8. Biddlin

    Hinckley is currently living with his mother in Virginia more than in the hospital and will be given a permanent convalescent leave soon, in all probability. check those facts once in awhile.


  9. Tia Will


    So you believe being locked up in a state mental hospital is a better sentence for this murderer?  I’m not so sure you are correct.”

    It is not my own direct knowledge of our prison vs mental health hospital practices that informs my opinion. It is that of the poster, rdcanning, who who has the most direct experience and expertise in this area who has posted on this issue a number of times in the past. Our state mental hospital is as secure as are our prisons and would be the site where the best opportunity for treatment for mental illness would be obtained. I have seen posted numerous times the false proposition that Mr. Marsh would be released sooner from the state mental hospital than from prison. This is simply not true as has been posted many times previously.

    Where Mr. Marsh should be housed depends on the societal goals. If what we are after is revenge, and arranging the least therapeutic and most brutal housing possible for Mr. Marsh, then prison is the right course of action. If our goal is to contain Mr. Marsh given how very dangerous he has proven to be, and at the same time provide the best possible care for his mental illness, then the state mental hospital is the best route. This is really not that complicated. What it really boils down to is whether we prioritize our safety which is achievable with is assignment to a state hospital or prison, or whether we prioritize placing him in the most brutal circumstances possible because we revel in the thought of his being “victimized” in turn.

    If not for revenge, why would you personally favor his placement in prison ?

  10. Biddlin

    Bottom line is, David, you and others have shown exponentially more concern for the murderer than his victims and their loved ones, rationalising almost daily, why Danny should be excused for murdering his neighbours, like a note to teacher. It is truly disturbing.


    1. Davis Progressive

      i think that has more to do with the focus of the vanguard which is to highlight flaws in the court system and scrutinize the police and government in general

  11. Tia Will


    Your repeated postings constantly worrying about Daniel Marshs rights completely undermine the pain and suffering he has caused in murdering Chip & Claudia. Do you not understand that??  “

    No, I do not understand that. I understand that this is your interpretation. Nothing more and nothing less. I do not believe that standing up for the rights of an accused in anyway undermines or detracts from the sympathy that one feels for the victims or their families. I find your inability to differentiate between these two concepts difficult to understand.

    While you may not be capable of feeling compassion for the victims, their families and friends, and for Mr. Marsh, his family and friends, it is entirely possible to do so. I know because I have compassion for all involved. I am fully capable of mourning the loss to our community of Chip and Claudia, their warmth and positive presence in our community …. and mourning the loss of the potential contribution to our community that could have been the path of Mr. Marsh and his family members had his problems been fully assessed and better treated earlier.

    You have one part of this right. Having a medical degree certainly does not make me morally superior. I have never made this claim. I do have a different perspective based on what I have seen in medicine throughout my career. However, I am equally certain that you have a different perspective based on your experiences. It is true that I do not understand your position any more than you apparently understand mine. That is a lack of understanding, not moral superiority.

    A mental hospital where he could be released many years prematurely than in his current situation. Deemed fit for society by well intended doctors such as you. This was not a risk the majorty was willing to take.”

    This is simply not the case. You are others seem completely willing to ignore the fact that he would not be more likely to be released early. And I have no idea what “majority” you are addressing as I do not believe that we get to “vote” on where Mr. Marsh should be housed.  What this will hinge on is whether or not the confession was obtained legally and any other legal issues that may arise, not on what you or I or some perceived “majority” would prefer, but whether proper procedures were indeed followed. It would appear that this is an ongoing legal dispute regardless of what posters on the Vanguard believe or want or hope.

    1. Biddlin

      ” I am fully capable of mourning the loss to our community of Chip and Claudia, their warmth and positive presence in our community…”

      But where have you done so? Sifting through your comments, I fail to see much if any compassion expressed for the victims, only concerns for the murderer and his rights, arguments with the established system, contempt for attorneys, medical experts who disagree with you and a jury of your neighbours who found him guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt.



      1. Tia Will


        Since you have gone to the trouble of “sifting through my posts”, would you mind posting each of my statements expressing sympathy and distress over the loss of the victims to our community. Then perhaps you could tell me exactly how many more such statements would be needed to fulfill your requirement.

        Has it occurred to you that I have not focused on the issue of the harm done to our community by the murders because that is self evident and not at all controversial. We are all saddened by the loss of these two members of our community. How many affirmations of this are needed ? How to best proceed with the placement and treatment of Mr. Marsh is however quite controversial and it is this issue that I have chosen to address. I am truly at a loss over why you and others seem bent upon making this an issue about my supposed lack of compassion as though it is not possible to hold multiple concepts and emotions in one’s mind and heart at the same time.

        1. Biddlin

          Couldn’t stand the bother and I stand by my statement. I am going to try and put this out of my mind now, because sometimes, all you can do is shake your head in bemusement and walk away. For all your sakes, I pray that more rational minds prevail in this matter. It only takes one savage murderer in town to ruin your day.


  12. Tia Will


    There is still such a stigma in our country re: mental illness.”

    I think that you have hit on a critical point here. There is certainly stigma and lack of understanding around mental illness. I personally know one UCD trained physician who does not believe in mental illness at all. He is of the opinion that those who suffer from depression, or anxiety, or delusions, or eating disorders are simply weak, or lazy and should in his words “just pull themselves together”. Basically his attitude is that if you cannot measure it in the lab, or see it on imaging, it simply does not exist.

    I happen to be of a very different opinion. Because we do not understand or have adequate treatments for many kinds of what we call “mental illness” today, does not mean that we will not someday fully understand that physiology behind these illnesses and be able to cure or at least adequately manage them. We have seen this over and over again in medicine in benign illnesses, infectious disease and in cancer treatments. I truly believe that some day we will perceive our grappling with these illnesses today as being as primitive as our grappling with infections prior to antibiotics.

    To demonize the ill does nothing to move us forward. From my perspective the correct approach would be to render these individuals incapable of harming others in the most humane and treatment oriented facility available. In our system, that happens to be the state mental facilities, not the prison system, and this is not my uninformed position. It is the position of the poster with the greatest amount of expertise in the workings of both systems.

    1. Lisa


      I have faith in the justice system that decided the sentence handed to DM. I very much respect all the professionals involved in the case that handled every bit of information that we are not fully privy to. We must support these fine law abiding contributing members of our society for dealing with a horrific tragedy that occurred in our small town. They did the best they could all within their legal rights and obligations as citizens. Including the Davis Police Officers in their trained interrogating tatics that they are obligated to perform. That is their job. They are not some sleazy thugs out to get our kids. They wanted to ensure that when they brought DM in for questioning they didn’t put the public at risk for letting a murderer accidentally go. The Judge on the case had the ability to allow the confession to be suppressed had any laws been broken. Again, where’s the support for the laws we have and respect for the ones who made careers out of criminal justice? There is no revenge in prison, it is called consequences. In fact it is quite compassionate that DM was not sentenced to death or life in prison. He is given food, shelter, medical care, programs to work on his education and/or obtain a trade skill, and he is even permitted to have visitors as well as recieve letters and care packages from his loved ones. I won’t be dramatic and say that this is much more than Chip and Claudia’s family will ever have. What I will say is that DM is given much more than many other people in his position had he been convicted in any other state than California.

  13. Lisa

    Davis Progressive:

    I’m so very sorry for your personal loss of Chip.

    While you have spent many years working with Mr. Northrup, we truly do not know if he would still feel the same had he survived while his wife did not. People are capable of changing their staunch beliefs after being victimized catastrophically like this. I understand that you are carrying the torch of his life’s work– which I completely respect. However, it’s okay to amend your personal viewpoints as you’ve endured life altering experiences that could never have been previously imagined.

    1. Davis Progressive

      it’s a good point you raise.  the family immediately made comments about this when daniel marsh was originally arrested.  it’s also clear that the family was not of one mind on this, whih is expected.

      in my personal experience i have seen people who hold tru to their viewpoints through tragedy and people for whom tragedy transforms them – and sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

      my only point in raising this is that i think you came to this discussion presuming that people who felt a certain way were at odds with respecting the memory of those who tragically were taken from us.  whereas at least for me, i have seen it as a way to honor the body of chip’s work.

      again, i think it’s important to remember that reasonable people can differ.

  14. Robert Canning

    Since I don’t get the opportunity to read the comments until long after many of them are made, I thought I would put it a comment about people who are committed to state hospitals as Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity. The law for NGRI, Penal Code Sec. 1026, is very clear.
    1) The person is held in a state hospital until the maximum date of what their sentence would be. In Daniel Marsh’s case that would be 26 years (is that right David?).
    2) The commitment to hospital can be extended in two-year increments if a jury finds that the individual continues to be a danger to the public because of a serious mental disorder.
    3) The director of the state hospital (or the committed individual) can petition for “restoration of sanity” and there will be a hearing. They would then be sent to a community program (CONREP) for a year or more and have another hearing before their sanity can be restored.
    Many individuals continue to be dangerous long after their sentence is up. I recently testified in a trial of a fellow whose sentence was up last year and could have simply been released. Luckily he will not and will spend two more years in state hospital, and probably will be retained after that for a number of years.
    The “system” (courts, etc.) are fairly conservative about releasing individuals deemed dangerous. They would much rather keep them in than risk having them show back up after having committed some awful crime. But, given the state of the art in violence risk assessment and not knowing what Daniel Marsh will be like in many years, it’s hard to say what might happen.

    And you know, Lisa, as much as you seem to believe that the Vanguard and some of it’s commenters are insensitive to the victims of this crime, their concern for civil rights and due process is not misplaced. Simply because they believe in civil rights and due process for all (including adolescents) does not mean they condone criminal acts or have no compassion for victims of violence. As DP said, reasonable people can differ.

  15. shandyludwig

    Whether the kid did it or not isn’t much of a question, I knew him from childhood. The wrong people payed for it though- the older couple and Dan. If his home/social life got put out there, I’m fairly certain most people would immediately start singing a different tune.

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