Marsh Case Offers Guidance for Rocklin Teen Defendant


Gavel+silhouetteBy Lloyd Billingsley

A Rocklin teen, 14, is charged with killing his sister Amanda Reed, 13. She was a victim of “blunt force trauma,” according to news reports, and the accused’s older brother Austin Wood, in an online post, wrote: “Something evil took him away from me, and as much as I want to hate him and for him to pay for what he’s done. … He’s still my lil brother and I miss him just as much.”

The Sacramento Bee is not naming the teen, initially held at the Placer County Probation Juvenile Detention Facility in Auburn and later moved to the juvenile hall in El Dorado County. At the time of Amanda Wood’s death, her father Jeff Wood, also father of the accused, was a Placer County prosecutor. Citing a conflict because of his employment, the District Attorney turned the case over to California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Officials have yet to decide whether to try the accused as an adult, and on September 9 delayed the hearing until November 10 while retired Yolo County Judge Thomas Warriner decides whether to grant media access. The print version of the Sacramento Bee story said “reporters were told they should bring their attorneys to explain why they should be allowed to cover the case.”

Court officials might find some guidance in the case of Daniel Marsh. He was only 15 at the time of his crime but Yolo County opted to try him as an adult. His public defenders sought to bar the media but the court allowed reporters and the trial never became a media circus.

On the other hand, the trial offered considerable insight into the motives of the 15-year-old for the murder and mutilation of Oliver Northup and Claudia Maupin. Marsh also explained why he had contemplated killing his sister, his father, and just about everyone he met.

Similar insights might emerge if the Rocklin teen, accused of killing his sister, is tried as an adult and reporters are allowed to do their job and cover the trial. They should not need a lawyer to explain why they should do so.

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Killer Confession: Double Murder Dialogue in Davis, California and the journalism collection Bill of Writes.


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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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12 thoughts on “Marsh Case Offers Guidance for Rocklin Teen Defendant”

  1. Tia Will

    They should not need a lawyer to explain why they should do so.”

    This is the only point on which we might agree. There should be no need for legal arguments.

    There is a reason that we do not judge 14 year olds to be adults. We recognize that their brains do not function on an adult level. For anyone who doubts this is true, I have a few simple questions.

    Do we let 14 year olds vote ?  Or join the military ? Or drive on our public streets ? Or purchase alcohol ?  I would suggest that we do not allow them to engage in these activities precisely because we acknowledge that they have not yet attained the maturity to mange either complex decisions making or their emotions to the same extent as adults. But because they have committed an abhorrent act, we suddenly want to declare that they are an adult ? Unconscionable in my view.

    1. SODA

      I would respectfully ask what the DV’s Editorial Biard’s criteria for article submission? I find these posts lacking in any useful content and distasteful in bringing up Daniel Marsh’s case periodically.

      What is the bar or is there a bar?

      1. David Greenwald

        We have a tentative policy for submissions that we have to finalize in October, but this would fit. Part of the reason I have printed them is that they provide a bit of a different viewpoint from what we normally provide. I may not agree with it, but I think it’s important to consider other viewpoints.

        1. SODA

          Thanks David. I debated before posting as I believe in free speech and limited censorship but his posts have disturbed me. Different viewpoint maybe but I would urge there be a policy as objective as possible, not easily done but Just as the moderator’s guidance policy has evolved, I think it will be good for the blog.

        2. hpierce

          Suggestion to the DV editorial board… postings that are primarily “ads” should either be fully labelled as such (note the hype in the author’s “creds”… looks like an ad to sell books, more than establishing credibility) or refused.

          Just a suggestion…

    2. Biddlin

      “There should be no need for legal arguments.”

      Rather like a “Christian Scientist” saying “We don’t need no doctor!”

      I would suggest that we do not allow them to engage in these activities based on cultural practice. I have lived in places where the legal age of consent was 16 at the time. My father was running a ranch at age 15. I was certainly considered old enough to run logging equipment at age 14. I was somewhat younger when I learned how to drive a small motor boat and fly and land a Piper Cub. I had a mature enough sense of right and wrong to be trusted with large sums of money at age 14. I happily admit that most teens don’t have these responsibilities thrust on them these days and so most will never really have their native maturity tested, thank goodness. But because they have committed an abhorrent act, we must assume in the absence of mitigating evidence that this particular teen is “different.” That is why I’ve previously emphasized the sociopathic aspects of Marsh’s personality. He had exhibited extreme maturity just a few years earlier, saving his father’s life and achieving high status as a scout. the genesis of the crime was unrelated to intellectual or emotional maturity. It was the missing component in Daniel’s personality, that will never be there. In a perfect world, the several medical professionals who dealt with Daniel prior to the murders, would have been able to place him in appropriate housing and give him treatment. That did not occur and our system has few other options, once the crime has been committed.


      1. hpierce

        It has been opined that the difference between genius and (pick your affliction) often is balanced on a razor thin edge.  I have come to believe, that there is truth in that… that many, depending on other factors, can very seriously go one way or the other… if we could just figure out those factors, and effectively deal with those… no answers, but I have many questions…

        “There, but for the grace of God, go I”…

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