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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Judge blocks dismissal of Marsh torture count

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From page A1 | November 03, 2013 | 9 Comments

WOODLAND — The extensive number of stab wounds suffered by an elderly Davis couple is sufficient evidence for torture allegations against their accused killer to stand, a Yolo Superior Court judge ruled Friday.

Judge Paul K. Richardson’s ruling derailed an attempt by Daniel William Marsh’s defense attorneys to eliminate one of the three special-circumstance allegations their client faces, in addition to two counts of first-degree murder.

Marsh, 16, also is charged with committing multiple murders and of lying in wait in connection with the April 14 deaths of longtime attorney and musician Oliver “Chip” Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76, in the couple’s Cowell Boulevard condominium.

Seated between his two court-appointed public defenders, the teen occasionally shivered in the chilled courtroom as one of the lawyers, Andrea Pelochino, argued the main points of a motion to dismiss the torture allegations.

She said that although testimony delivered at Marsh’s Sept. 13 preliminary hearing was “graphic and sensational,” detailing the more than 120 stab wounds the couple had sustained in addition to evisceration, “the people failed to produce evidence of the special circumstance of torture.”

And while prosecutors offered proof of an intent to kill, torture evidence must be “separate and distinct” from that of first-degree murder, Pelochino asserted. In their written motion, the defense also argued that many of the stab wounds could have been inflicted after death, and that torture cannot occur without a living victim.

All that’s irrelevant, countered Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Cabral, who said that Richardson must give deference to Judge Timothy Fall’s prior ruling on the torture allegations at the preliminary hearing and not re-weigh the evidence.

In his written response to the defense motion, Cabral also said it’s uncertain how long the victims endured the stabbings before dying of their wounds, the number and severity of which are enough to support the special circumstance as charged.

Richardson ultimately agreed, noting that the legal definition of torture encompasses the infliction of severe pain that causes the victim extreme physical or mental discomfort.

“The sheer volume of stab wounds was indicative of the intent to torture,” Richardson added. “Neither Mr. Northup nor Ms. Maupin died immediately” after the attack began, and the stabbing continued “even as (Maupin) pleaded for him to stop.”

Marsh is due back in court Dec. 6 for a status conference hearing. His trial is scheduled to begin March 3.

Charged as an adult, Marsh is ineligible for either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole because of his young age. If convicted, he faces 52 years to life in prison.

In addition to members of both the victims’ and the defendant’s families, Friday’s hearing also was attended by a Davis Police Department school resource officer, whose presence was intended “to provide overall support to our teen population,” department spokesman Lt. Glenn Glasgow said.

A number of teenagers, reportedly friends of Marsh and his older sister, have regularly attended Marsh’s court hearings, including the September preliminary hearing that involved explicit descriptions of the victims’ injuries.

Glasgow said the officer “would have been able to assist with any discomfort that our youth may have experienced from being at such a hearing as well as assist with any disruptions that might take place involving Davis teens.”

— Reach Lauren Keene at lkeene@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

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Discussion | 9 comments

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  • JamesNovember 03, 2013 - 7:58 am

    Dear Lt. Glasgow, how come Davis PD is sending in a resource officer to take care of kids WHO SHOULD BE IN SCHOOL INSTEAD OF ATTENDING A COURT HEARING TO SUPPORT A MURDERER? Don't you think you oughta be citing them for truancy instead? Wow.

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  • natomaslbgtqKCNovember 03, 2013 - 8:35 am

    Due to the horrific experience, the family of Claudia wrote some letters to the school and the court. The 5 15 year old girls that pushed into us trying to get into the court room with all there excitement. The whole preliminary experience was very hard for us to hear and experience. These 15 year old girls expressed their worshiping of a murderer while we are in deep grief over the lose of these lovely people. Then the murderer was paraded right past us in such a sick way. Lauren just made it sound political and she longs to help these poor innocent murder worshipers. I was there, we where so traumatized by teens who are think this is a reality show for them. We where also traumatized by his dad and sister coming into the court late after we waited some 4 hours to get in. Again this is about the lose of a lovely couple and a murderer who deserve the death penalty. Lauren you are not a friend of Chips anymore. Shame on you for sensationalizing only the murderer. Did you know yesterday was Chip and Claudia's anniversary ?

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  • Lauren KeeneNovember 04, 2013 - 8:14 am

    It appears you misunderstand my role here. My job is to report what I see and hear in the courtroom, not to demonstrate favoritism toward either side of the case. When I asked the Davis Police Department their reason for sending an officer to court, that is the answer they gave, not one that I made up. If you don't agree with Lt. Glasgow's response, I suggest you take that up with his department.

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  • Noreen MazelisNovember 03, 2013 - 3:51 pm

    The Davis PD's concern for these Manson Girls is soooo touching -- and sooo Davis.

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  • Noreen MazelisNovember 03, 2013 - 3:37 pm

    The treatment of these "Manson Girls" by the Davis PD, the School District, and now this reporter shows how the Davis establishment caters to the morally deranged.

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  • MartinNovember 03, 2013 - 8:07 pm

    Lauren Keene's reporting of this trial is factual and informational.

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  • natomaslbgtqDecember 10, 2013 - 1:54 pm

    Martin: I was there, Lauren was not with us when the shariff paraded the murderer of our loved ones, 5 inches from us. Nor was she there anytime during the 4 hours we waited outside the court room door. You obviously do not understand the magnitude of a been a Victim. Hearing this "poor kid" story from those of you who apparently think its OK, to murder people in their home while they sleep is as sick as you are. You and Marsh should "do the right thing". There is a special place for you.

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  • Lauren KeeneDecember 10, 2013 - 2:16 pm

    Actually, I was there, but I'm not sure what those events have to do with the above story, or where you get the impression that either Martin and I believe it's "OK to murder people in their home while they sleep."

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  • Rich RifkinNovember 03, 2013 - 11:13 pm

    "Richardson ultimately agreed, noting that the legal definition of torture encompasses the infliction of severe pain that causes the victim extreme physical or mental discomfort." ...... If Judge Richardson said that, he got it wrong. It does not matter if the act actually inflicts severe pain on the victim, under Penal Code 206. What counts is, if the victim suffers a serious injury--as would be the case here, obviously--was "the intent to cause cruel or extreme pain and suffering for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion, or for any sadistic purpose, inflicts great bodily injury." I cannot imagine how anyone would doubt that the attacker who killed his victims with "more than 120 stab wounds" did not intend to inflict great bodily injury. And if some of these wounds occurred post-mortem, then the stabbings would qualify (in my opinion) as sadistic intent and meet the definition of torture in that respect.

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