Tuesday, March 31, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Marsh confession admissible, Yolo judge rules

Marsh1w

Daniel Marsh, 16, who is suspected of stabbing to death two elderly Davis residents, is flanked by his public defenders, Ron Johnson and Andrea Pelochino, in Yolo Superior Court earlier this year. Judge David Reed ruled Marsh's confession to the crimes admissable at his upcoming trial. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | March 02, 2014 |

WOODLAND — One by one, the Yolo Superior Court judge addressed the arguments for keeping a Davis murder suspect’s alleged confession out of court, from the ruse that got the teen to the police station to his mental-health history to the tactics used by officers during the five-hour interview.

But none of it rendered the confession involuntary in the opinion of Judge David Reed, who after privately watching videos of the June 17, 2013, interview determined that 16-year-old Daniel William Marsh demonstrated “significant sophistication” and intelligence, “perhaps beyond his years.”

“The court concludes that the defendant did not invoke his right to remain silent,” Reed said, noting that Marsh continued to talk with officers even after being placed under arrest. “His waiver of rights appears to have been knowingly, intelligently and understandingly made.”

“Under the totality of the circumstances, the defendant’s statements were voluntary and uncoerced,” Reed added before denying a defense motion to exclude the alleged confession.

The ruling clears the way for Yolo County prosecutors to introduce Marsh’s recorded statements at his upcoming trial for the violent stabbing murders of local attorney Oliver “Chip” Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76.

Also on Friday, Reed granted a defense motion to postpone the trial, which is now scheduled to begin April 14 — the one-year anniversary of the slayings. Marsh, who has pleaded not guilty, is being tried as an adult.

But his youth was a key theme in the defense’s bid to suppress the alleged confession, arguing that Marsh’s age, combined with his history of severe depression and anxiety disorder, made him ill-equipped to withstand the tactics of the Davis police detective and FBI agent who questioned him about the double homicide.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, described Marsh as an atypically mature teen who not only kept up with the interview but even challenged the two officers throughout the questioning.

During an hourlong evidentiary hearing Friday morning, Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Cabral called four witnesses who testified about Marsh’s past experiences with the Davis Police Department, as well as his interactions with officers on the day of his arrest.

Marsh’s exposure to law enforcement dates back to 2010, when as a 13-year-old he participated in the Davis Police Department’s youth academy and, based on his performance there, was invited to join the agency’s cadet program.

“He really shined,” said Michele Sharitz, the police services specialist who oversees the two programs. “Daniel stood out in a positive way — he was one that stood out the most.”

Sharitz said Marsh would have received instruction in defensive tactics, hostage negotiations, crime-scene investigations and other topics during the academy, though she acknowledged under cross-examination that police interrogations and Miranda rights were not part of the course.

It was through the youth academy that Marsh first met Officer Eddie Ellsworth, who as the agency’s school resource officer later encountered the teen on multiple occasions on the Davis High School campus. One of those meetings occurred in December 2012, when Ellsworth responded to the school to transport Marsh to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

Even then, Marsh appeared coherent and understood the questions that were asked of him, Ellsworth said.

On June 17, Ellsworth arrived at work to learn that Marsh had been identified as a suspect in the Northup-Marsh murders, the officer testified. He was dispatched to a home on East Eighth Street, where Marsh was staying at the time, to bring the teen to the Police Department.

Told he needed to make arrangements for a youth diversion program related to his arrest in May for having a knife on the Davis High campus, Marsh willingly accompanied Ellsworth to the station even after being told he didn’t have to, Ellsworth testified. The officer said he read Marsh his Miranda rights but did not immediately arrest or restrain him.

During the interview, conducted by Davis police Detective Ariel Pineda and FBI Special Agent Chris Campion, Marsh was questioned about his family and other personal history before being confronted about the murders.

“He was tracking extremely well. He was going with the flow of the conversation,” even jumping ahead of the officers at certain points, Campion said on the witness stand. “His mental acumen, his vocabulary, the way he presented himself … I would characterize him as a very intelligent young man.”

In their motion to suppress Marsh’s confession, public defenders Ron Johnson and Andrea Pelochino took issue with Campion’s interview tactics, in which he described himself as a “healer” and, according to the lawyers, suggested that a confession could lead to more lenient juvenile-court prosecution or psychiatric hospitalization.

“Law enforcement capitalized on Mr. Marsh’s vulnerabilities … ultimately rendering the statements involuntary,” Pelochino said in court Friday. She also noted that Marsh made multiple requests to go home during the interview and at one point said, “I need help,” describing both as invocations of his right to remain silent.

Cabral disagreed, saying Marsh clearly understood his rights and showed no signs of impairment during the interview — even attempting to negotiate his release after being placed under arrest.

” ‘Well, since it’s only based on rumors, why don’t you let me go home first?’ ” Marsh told the officers, according to Cabral. “This is not an individual who felt he had to comply with what the police said.”

In his ruling, Reed concurred that “invocations cannot be equivocal or ambiguous,” and that law-enforcement officers under the Miranda laws are not required to ask clarifying questions or cease questioning in such instances. The judge also concluded that references to juvenile court or psychiatric help were isolated and “did not amount to a promise of leniency.”

None of Friday’s testimony addressed the specifics of the alleged confession, in which Marsh reportedly admitted to harboring the urge to kill since age 10 and choosing his victims after discovering an open window at their Cowell Boulevard condominium, two doors away from his father’s residence at the time.

Marsh’s attorneys declined to comment about Reed’s ruling as they left the courtroom Friday. The case is due back in court March 21 for a status conference, with a trial-readiness conference set for April 4.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Coroner confirms West Davis deaths were murder-suicide

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Special playground dedication slated

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

     
    Police: Missing athlete died on freeway

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    French eye cockpit entry rules

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Bob Dunning: Wrap your head around our MRAP need

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Solo crash kills Woodland man, 22

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Officials say Iran nuke talks will continue in new phase

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    ‘Old Autos’ at Hattie Weber Museum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Davis tops list of best schools for the buck

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4

     
    Lenten giving project highlights climate justice

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    DCCNS plans open house April 8

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Parent-child open house previews new Waldorf classes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Summer garden alert!

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Davis FFA and ag students host plant sale

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Poker tourney benefits DMTC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Camp Shakespeare begins Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Neighbors invited to adopt Willow Creek Park

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Yolo animal shelter seeks donations

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

    RSVP for Gerber Young Community Leader reception

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Pence Gallery recruiting volunteers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Move over, Muggles

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A5

     
    Tour de Cluck has selected its coops

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    CBH hosts Passover Community Potluck Seder

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    City extends nomination period for Huynh Awards

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Parenting class meets Tuesdays

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Meeting examines Northstar Pond priorities

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    .

    Forum

    Maybe he loves the outdoors …

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Why can’t we be friends?

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    A California comeback for gerrymandering?

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A8

     
    César Chávez’s peaceful civil disobedience forged a great legacy

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    A conversation about power

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Sports

    Over the years, The Show has been a reach for Davis

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UC Davis opens hopeful spring football camp

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    A very palpable hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
     
    UCD roundup: Sleiffer seals Aggie tennis victory over Montana

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Grizzlies beat Kings to end three-game skid

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

     
    Snubbed Temple, returning Stanford highlight NIT semis

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    30 years of dance in Davis with Pamela Trokanski

    By Chloe Lessard | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Dance the night away at house party

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    ‘A Year with Frog and Toad’ a delightful family show

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Mischief to play at Picnic in the Park

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Yolo Mambo will play at winery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Thursday Live! plans a blues party

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Jane Lynch performance rescheduled to August

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Hear some April Fool’s night jazz

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7