Sunday, April 20, 2014

Friend: Teen murder suspect was often bullied

From page A1 | June 21, 2013 | 13 Comments

Daniel Marsh, who just finished his sophomore year at Davis High School, was bullied mercilessly in junior high school, a friend says. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

Daniel Marsh earned straight A’s in school, and he enjoyed attending classes. But Holmes Junior High School was, for the most part, an unpleasant place for him, according to a close friend of the Davis teen arrested this week on suspicion of killing an elderly couple.

“It was horrible. They basically tortured him,” the friend said of youths who frequently teased the shy, quiet Marsh over his appearance — his short stature, his weight and his pale skin. “He hated going to school, to a place where kids bullied him.”

While the abuse was mostly verbal, occasionally it turned physical, with kids throwing rocks and trash at the boy on school grounds, the friend recalled in an interview Thursday. No one intervened, and Marsh didn’t report the bullying, because “if you go against the popular people, your life is hell, basically.”

Depressed and anorexic, Marsh spent some time in a psychiatric facility during this past school year, just a few months before the murders, according to the friend. At first, he seemed better upon his return.

“He came back smiling and everything, but then he went back into a depressed state.”

The friend, who said she was a target of bullying herself, spoke on condition of anonymity, saying she fears possible repercussions from Marsh’s friends in retaliation for speaking out.

When she heard about Marsh’s arrest Monday on suspicion of fatally stabbing Davis residents Oliver “Chip” Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76, “I was like, whoa,” the friend said. “I could see him doing something like that, but I didn’t think he actually would.”

Marsh, 16, is being charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances alleging multiple murders, heinous and depraved murder, lying in wait and torture. He pleaded not guilty to the charges during his arraignment Wednesday in Yolo Superior Court.

“We are dismayed to hear this report since we take great care to create a positive school climate and to monitor student behavior,” said Pam Mari, executive director of student services and secondary programs for the Davis Joint Unified School District, in response to the bullying allegations. “We cannot comment further but we do take these matters seriously and will conduct our own investigation.”

The friend said Marsh underwent a change in image as he transitioned from junior high to Davis High School, wearing dark clothing, growing out his hair, experimenting with marijuana and conducting rituals that she perceived as “satanist.”

“He decided to go bad-ass, do the whole punk thing,” she said. But while the transformation earned Marsh more friends, he still harbored a great deal of anger and depression.

The friend said Marsh already was fighting those demons when, at age 12, he was honored by the American Red Cross of Yolo County for saving his father Bill Marsh’s life as he suffered from a heart attack at the wheel of his car.

By then, Marsh was receiving part of his education through the Davis School for Independent Study, an alternative learning program offered by the Davis school district that allows students to conduct some — or all — of their studies at home, an arrangement Marsh sought out because of the constant bullying, his friend said.

Marsh’s parents had ended their marriage by that point, “but it was never about the divorce,” she said of the boy’s troubles. He was more affected by his parents’ respective health problems — including his mother Sheri Hosking’s battle with cancer — and “he was always stressed out.”

Both parents have declined to be interviewed by The Enterprise.

There were no obvious red flags during the four years that Marsh received martial arts instruction from Baciarini’s Martial Arts in Davis, where according to owner and chief instructor Richard Baciarini, the boy would have learned techniques to defend himself both physically and mentally.

“That’s my chief aim, to empower people to be confident and live their best lives through martial arts,” Baciarini said. When it comes to issues such as bullying, the program teaches students “to deal with it in a professional and positive way. Do you believe what they’re saying and let it get to you, or know that they’re just trying to get a reaction?”

Although it’s been several years since Marsh walked through Baciarini’s doors, the owner remembers him as an “average student, quiet, polite and respectful.”

“I’m still kind of in disbelief that this happened,” Baciarini said of Marsh’s arrest. “I have no idea what motives would have driven him to where he is now.”

“It’s just tragic, because I know all of these people, and Oliver was just a really great guy,” said Marsh’s friend, who recalled seeing both Northup and Marsh at the same party celebrating a historic Davis structure several years ago, though it’s not clear whether they interacted. “They (Northup and Maupin) were very nice, smart people, and they liked to enjoy life.”

Marsh’s next court date is July 2. He remains held without bail at Yolo County Juvenile Hall.

Although Marsh is believed to be the sole suspect in the slayings, Davis police say they are continuing their investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department at 530-747-5400.

— Reach Lauren Keene at or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene. Enterprise staff writer Anne Ternus-Bellamy contributed to this report.


Discussion | 13 comments

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  • stevie price jrJune 21, 2013 - 10:33 am

    Wow I was bullied to at homes Jr and I was not the only one that went there that was bullied and over the years people where bullied but they did not say o wow lets kill people because I'm haveing a bad day THATS WHY WE TALKED ABOUT ARE HORRIBLE DAYS WITH FAMILY AKA PARENTS WHO CARE HINT HINT AND FRIENDS THAT ARE REAL FRIENDS

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  • Pandora ThatsriteJune 21, 2013 - 3:47 pm

    Dan was there for me when nobody else was. He believed everyone deserves thr same human respect. I trust that boy with my life, and while he had troubles, we all do. Ido not see him being capable, emotionally and physically of the alledged crime, which worries me. In the eyes of the law he is still considered innocent. Media is going crazy, the public loves his story. Judging based upon his hair andattire during the arraignment, even. He is such akind soul, and he has never deserved what he has been through the past few years. I am convinced he is innocent and have seen and interracted with him since the alledged crime and he seemed normal as ever. If Dan is guilty I'm sure of someone else being involved with the crime, possibly even forcing Dan to do such ahorrible thing, which I could never see him capable of on his own. Dan was a very troubled boy and I keep hearing the words "monster" and worse to describe him. It is that exact talk that would get a teen to such a troubled position as he may have been in. We, as humans, are losing the general respect for all other humans that everyone clearly deserves. and this is all coming from a 15 year old Davis irl. It seems that regardless of age people are eating up everything the press says. How people are treating and reacting to this case is as demented and nasty as a 15 year old boy brutally murdering an elderly couple. Show a bit of respect. Dan Marsh is innocent until proven guilty. Keep that in mind.

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  • pandora thatsriteJune 21, 2013 - 3:50 pm

    Dan was not a Satanist.

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  • stevie price jrJune 21, 2013 - 8:08 pm

    Respect on what he decicded to kill 2 innocent loveing careing people For his anger issues about every thing that made him mad or sad how come his friends were never there FOR HIM? But he was there for you and everybody he knew

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  • Friend_Of_DanielJune 23, 2013 - 12:30 am

    Hi, I just wanted to let you know Daniel was like a little brother to me. I was mostly with him when times where good, however when things were going bad for him he didn't like anybody knowing, so it was hard to help him. Anyways, I knew Daniel pretty well, so I gave him my phone number and told him if he ever needed anything I would always be available for him. I knew he was troubled and I wanted to help, but somethings are beyond you and you just can't help someone who doesn't want it. My mother knew about his situation as well, she even told the district that Daniel needed help, in fact she's been telling them FOR THE LAST 3 YEARS. (My family is very interested on how DJUSD will respond)

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  • BobJune 21, 2013 - 9:05 pm

    The dirty underbelly of Davis public schools--publicly preach tolerance and acceptance, sweep under the rug those who are chastised and marginalized. We've seen the end product of this before--the huge fights out in the park, suicides and suicide attempts (how many in the past couple of years?)? Our town loves to choose what it shows to the area and to itself, but when we ignore that underbelly, we eventually pay the price--WE, the community. The confederate flags, the race baiting speech, the nooses, the beatings, the's all there, and we're so shocked when it ends up here, in the news. Anyone who has lived here a while, been through the schools, worked in the schools, seen ALL the students, not just the ones we like to parade in front of the media, they know. Time to start looking at our dirty underbelly, Davis.

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  • wally cleaverJune 22, 2013 - 12:14 pm

    What a bunch of comments from liberals on here, which leads me to believe that we are in trouble as a nation. I notice that when it comes to murder a libby will cry for the murderer and not the victim. But when it comes to a race issue, a lib nut will turn into a hateful monster for revenge.

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  • AmenJune 22, 2013 - 12:50 pm

    Amen. There is no excuse whatever for killing these two people. I don't care if he was bullied everyday. We're all bullied to some extent throughout our lives. We're not all brutal killers. This is a failure of his parents to be present through a divorce and a kid that wasn't being taken care of emotionally. Nonetheless, it is his fault, and he will pay dearly for it. Stop blaming everyone but him.

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  • stevie price jrJune 22, 2013 - 12:57 pm

    the kid had major. Issues how come they did not put a warning label on all his school or Dr notes AND HOW COME THERE WAS NOT A RED FLAG aBOUT HIS DEPRESSION THAT HIS PARENTS KNEW ABOUT

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  • DerekJune 22, 2013 - 1:01 pm

    And using this tragedy to push your own unrelated political stance is somehow better?

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  • DerekJune 22, 2013 - 1:04 pm

    Also, one comment is hardly "a bunch". It was one comment from someone who knew the suspect. But leave it to a conservative to blow one small comment completely out of proportion to push their own agenda. ;)

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  • stevie price jrJune 22, 2013 - 2:18 pm

    Did any body read the whole story it says a lot about the changes on "MARSH" read carefully and read it again don't scan the artical there's a lot of hints

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  • Judi :3June 25, 2013 - 2:11 pm

    Wow... I did martial arts with Dan when I was younger. I remember him being pretty quiet, but very nice, and caring. It is crazy to see how much he has changed, especially since I moved. It is almost impossible for me to imagine this happened, especially because of how nice he was. We all go through changed through our teen years I guess, but this was really a shock, especially how much I enjoyed being around him as a kid...

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