Crime, Fire + Courts

Marsh trial starts Monday; sanctions request denied

By From page A1 | August 24, 2014

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Double-homicide suspect Daniel Marsh, now 17, is led into court earlier this year. Enterprise file photo

Come Monday morning, potential jurors will file into the Yolo County Courthouse in Woodland for jury selection in the Daniel William Marsh double-homicide case.

The 17-year-old from Davis is being tried as an adult in connection with the April 14, 2013, fatal stabbings of local attorney and musician Oliver “Chip” Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76, who were slain in the bedroom of their Cowell Boulevard condominium.

Marsh has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the charges against him, which include two counts of first-degree murder and the special-circumstance allegations of multiple murders, torture and lying in wait.

Jury selection in the high-profile case is expected to take several days, with the presentation of evidence and testimony slated to start on Sept. 2. Yolo Superior Court Judge David Reed is presiding over the trial.

Attorneys in the case met in court Friday for a final trial-readiness conference, where Reed denied prosecutors’ motion to impose monetary sanctions on the defense over an alleged failure to hand over discovery materials in a timely manner.

The lead prosecutor, Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Cabral, told Reed last week that he had received a one-page summary of a report prepared by the defense’s mental-health expert, Dr. James Merikangas, but had seen none of the materials the neurologist and psychiatrist had used to prepare his evaluation.

Specifically, Cabral said he was entitled to view Marsh’s school and psychological records, the results of an MRI scan of the teen’s brain and interviews with his family, all of which apparently are cited in the report.

But Marsh’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Ron Johnson, disagreed, saying in a 15-page response to the demand for sanctions that the requested discovery materials already had been turned over, were not subject to pretrial disclosure or otherwise do not exist.

Prosecutors’ claims that the defense intentionally withheld evidence amount to an “unwarranted personal attack” that “only serves to fuel media speculation about the motives of counsel and denies defendant a fair trial,” Johnson wrote.

Reed agreed that sanctions were not warranted, but advised both parties to continue to cooperate in the exchange of discovery.

Marsh’s trial will comprise two phases — a guilt phase, followed by a sanity phase if he is convicted of the murders. The sanity phase would determine whether Marsh serves his time in prison or a locked mental-health facility.

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

Lauren Keene

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