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Daniel Marsh, 17, confers with his defense attorney, Deputy Public Defender Ronald Johnson, in court. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

Crime, Fire + Courts

Suspect’s friend testifies about stabbing attack

By From page A1 | September 05, 2014

WOODLAND — Before the news broke that a well-regarded Davis couple had been slain in their own home, one person other than the alleged killer knew about the horror inside 4006 Cowell Boulevard.

Alavaro Garibay, who befriended Daniel Marsh in the 7th grade at Holmes Junior High School and considered him like a brother, said Marsh admitted to his role in the April 14, 2013, killings just hours after they occurred.

“I didn’t want to hear about it,” a visibly nervous Garibay, 18, said on the witness stand Thursday in Yolo Superior Court, where Marsh is being tried as an adult in connection with the stabbing murders of Oliver “Chip” Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76.

He said he sat in Marsh’s bedroom as his friend described the murders in explicit detail, pausing to pull the bloodstained jacket he wore out of his closet and show Garibay the six-inch buck knife he had taken from his mother’s nightstand to carry out his crime.

In front of a rapt jury, Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Cabral displayed the jacket and the dark-handled knife, along with the gloves and shoes Marsh wore that night.

Marsh, 17, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Ron Johnson, has not denied Marsh’s involvement in the slayings, but contends that a combination of mental illness and side effects of antidepressant and antipsychotic medications were to blame for the teen’s actions.

According to Garibay, Marsh prepared for the attack by wrapping duct tape on his shoes to avoid leaving any prints behind. He claimed to know that an elderly man lived at the South Davis condominium — which was two houses away from where his father lived at the time — but was surprised to find two people sleeping in the bedroom after crawling through an unlocked living-room window.

The attack, he said, lasted about 30 minutes.

“He told me that was the best feeling he’s felt in his entire life,” Garibay said as the victims’ family members wept quietly in the courtroom. “He was smiling. He seemed really chill with it, really happy.”

Garibay said he responded nonchalantly to Marsh’s admission with “That’s cool,” after which the pair smoked marijuana and played the video game “Call of Duty.”

Inside, however, “I was incredibly paranoid.”

At school the next day, “everyone was talking about how there was a double homicide,” Garibay said. As they sat at their usual lunch table, Marsh turned to him and said, “I made the news.”

“Did he appear proud of making the news?” Cabral asked.

“Yeah,” Garibay replied.

But it wasn’t just Garibay who knew Marsh’s secret. He also allegedly confessed on April 15 to his then-girlfriend, a 16-year-old girl whose name Judge David Reed ordered reporters covering Marsh’s trial not to publish because she is a minor.

“Torture was something he was interested in,” as was the serial killer Ted Bundy, said the ex-girlfriend, who began dating Marsh shortly before he spent a week in a mental-health facility in December 2012. After he told her about the killings, “I got very intimidated by him.”

Both she and Garibay testified that Marsh introduced them to a website featuring graphic images of death and destruction, and by his sophomore year was experiencing frequent homicidal urges that intensified in the months leading up to the murders. Garibay said Marsh once killed a cat and later texted him to ask if he could kill his pet dog.

Marsh also reportedly drafted a plan to slay his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend, scrawling the boy’s address and the names of everyone who lived there on a piece of paper with the words “I’M READY” at the top, a court exhibit showed.

About a month before the murders, Garibay said he realized the extent of Marsh’s rage firsthand when the defendant — angry over text messages Garibay had exchanged with Marsh’s girlfriend — threw Garibay up against a wall.

“His face went kind of black, and he was telling me he wanted to choke me,” recalled Garibay, who the following May reported Marsh to Davis High School officials for carrying a knife on campus.

But neither he nor the ex-girlfriend reported what Marsh told them about the murders until June 2013. That’s when Garibay said he approached Marsh’s father with his suspicions, but “he didn’t believe me.”

Concerned for the safety of Marsh’s ex-girlfriend — who had recently ended the couple’s relationship — Garibay made a phone call to Davis police.

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

Lauren Keene

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