By Danielle Eden C. Silva
The Daniel Marsh hearing in Department 7 paused on the testimony of a witness, to allow the family of the victims, Oliver “Chip” Northup and Claudia Maupin, to address the court. Two written statements were submitted to the court, from family members who could not attend, but five statements in all were read aloud.
The first speaker, MM, was a daughter of the victims. She noted how their family went to the trial of Mr. Marsh, whom she addressed as “AW0819,” and how Mr. Marsh was not an unloved child with anorexia. Instead, she saw a confident teenager who controlled those around him. He had not shown any signs of reconciliation, wanting to focus on committing the perfect crime. The speaker noted “AW0819” went so far as to manipulate the TEDx managers to appear on the show. His current goal is to get out by 25, but she believes he doesn’t feel remorse and a juvenile sentence is not enough for rehabilitation. She wishes not to see him again until the parole hearing in 2027.
SR, a granddaughter of the victims, spoke next, first speaking for her mother (another daughter of the victims), herself, and finally her mother’s partner.
On her mother V’s behalf, the second speaker noted how not a day passed in her life without thinking about the grotesque, vicious murders. The statement moved into detail of the torture Mr. Marsh exhibited. The mother now depends on her PTSD therapy to function and the torture of these murders never leaves her. In her mind, the defendant laughing at an elderly couple as they suffer is now his identity. He wanted to manipulate the murders to his benefit and V noted that many innocent people were hurt, for which he felt no ounce of consideration.
“We don’t want to serve a life sentence either,” the speaker read for her mother. The statement closed, asking the court not to allow the defendant into juvenile court. The mother believes that the defendant should have a life sentence because he will kill again without shame.
In the speaker’s personal statement, she recounted how her “Granza was her everything.”
She found the case resurfacing, surreal and re-traumatizing. The speaker noted that Marsh had planned everything out and was fueled with the desire to perform the perfect crime. He mutilated her grandparents as they begged him to stop. She noted that not everyone can be rehabilitated and that Marsh is a psychopath trying to get back on the streets. He manipulated his father into getting him a cellphone and manipulated the TEDx producer into believing what he said. Marsh hasn’t changed and is, in her mind, “the coward who took on two defenseless elderly.” Justice for her would be that the defendant never walk on the streets again without wearing shackles.
In a statement from V’s partner, she recounted the evening of April 14, 2014. V came in screaming, a phone in her hands that brought dinner preparations of a quiet evening to halt. Now, V’s partner sleeps with security devices nearby and a professional guard dog. The trauma of this case, inherently and biblically wrong, remains.
SR’s wife, P, next stood at the stand. She noted how when she met “Granza,” she was mesmerized by her and by the love she received from a woman she had just met. P then recounted the 41 days of detailed delving into the crime during the trial: the numerous stab wounds in both bodies, the mutilation of the bodies. The empathy that the defendant received was misdirected, P shared. She considered his childhood to be no excuse for his actions. He committed the perfect crime and will kill again, just not making the same mistakes.
MN would be the last to speak, sharing that she was a biological daughter of Chip. She noted the case came up when she had a teen in high school and she needed an eight-month leave from work. The previous night before delivering this statement, she thought about her belief that everyone should have a second chance and considered the importance of the justice system. As she searched it online, she noted any restorative justice would include the defendant paying restitution for actions through the least severe punishment and concentration on the need for societal safety. MN noted that the defendant had not expressed any true remorse – instead of paying for his actions, he constantly attempted to get by with them.
MN also noted that her workplace was several blocks from Chip’s home and she would often bump into him and they would walk together from time to time. She saw him on a near-daily basis. Not only to be near the house after their death but also not to be able to begin the healing process because no one was allowed into the house for four months, even to retrieve important documents, led her to take a leave of absence from work. Her son, also, had suffered from the publicity of the events and had to change schools as a result. She concluded by saying that a second chance is only worth it if there is a desire not to do the same thing again, and all the defendant learned was not to disclose his victims to anyone. The speaker asked the court to protect other families from what happened to them.
Redirect began again for the probation officer, Christina Tranfaglia, who had been testifying on the stand since Monday. The prosecution concentrated on the recorded counseling events of Mr. Marsh, including the involvement of his parents with his medical treatment. Mr. Marsh received treatment for anorexia, depression, and suicidal thoughts, which were monitored by his parents. On several occasions, his weight dropped below the prescribed amount by one or two pounds and he would miss meetings. However, for some meetings he missed, the mother would call soon after to follow up on them and reschedule.
Mr. Marsh interacted with psychiatrists, doctors, and other medical staff. The probation officer noted he chose not to attend outpatient group therapy because he did not want to listen to other people’s problems.
In the notes, the defendant believed he didn’t want to act out on his thoughts and felt better about denying homicidal ideation, but he wanted to hurt animals, never humans. Additionally, the record noted several medicinal changes before the end of the medical record.
The probation officer noted that one of her primary concerns was the consistent turnover rate of the licensed professionals in Mr. Marsh’s medical record. She further clarified that she was concerned with seeing if Mr. Marsh was appropriate for the programs, not the facility itself. And, while the defendant did admit his goal was to get out of prison, the probation officer noted that many in custody also would like to get out of prison.
The defense directed Officer Tranfaglia to return to the medical record. She did note that on some occasions the father could not be reached, and the parents were responsible for reporting if Mr. Marsh was feeling suicidal. There was also a note claiming that, while Mr. Marsh had improvements, no one would monitor his meals. He also missed out on intensive out-patient groups but went to other therapy sessions.
The probation officer was excused, subject to recall. The case will resume tomorrow at 9 a.m. in Department 7, with an expert witness from the defense.