UPDATE: Daniel William Marsh pleaded not guilty today to two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the April murders of Oliver “Chip” Northup and Claudia Maupin.
Through his two court-appointed public defenders, Marsh, 16, also denied four special-circumstances allegations in the case, some of which accuse him of torturing the elderly couple and lying in wait. He is being charged as an adult.
Marsh’s next court appearance is set for July 2 before Judge Timothy Fall. He is being held without bail at Yolo County Juvenile Hall.
Friends and relatives of the teen, including his father Bill Marsh, declined to comment to reporters, as did members of Maupin’s family who attended the hearing.
Years before he was accused of taking two people’s lives, Daniel Marsh was credited with saving one.
Marsh was just 12 years old when his father, Bill Marsh, began feeling the symptoms of a heart attack at their West Davis home. Father and son got into their car, but Bill Marsh blacked out on Covell Boulevard while en route to Sutter Davis Hospital, his foot still on the gas pedal.
Daniel Marsh sprang into action, grabbing the steering wheel from the passenger seat and veering the car away from oncoming traffic until it came to rest against a sound wall. A fan of the medical drama “House,” the boy remembered a technique he had seen on the television show.
“I started yelling and banging on his chest, trying to bring him back. And it did,” the youngster told The Enterprise during a Dec. 4, 2009, interview at UC Davis, where he was honored with an American Red Cross Heroes award. “If I didn’t do anything and just sat there and waited for someone to help, my dad would have died.”
Just 3 1/2 years after that extraordinary act, Davis police say Daniel William Marsh is responsible for one of the community’s most horrific crimes — the violent April murders of local couple Oliver “Chip” Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76. Both died of multiple stab wounds in their Cowell Boulevard condominium.
Marsh was scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. today in Yolo Superior Court.
The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office has charged the 16-year-old as an adult with two felony counts of first-degree murder with enhancements for use of a deadly weapon — a knife — plus four special circumstances alleging multiple murders, heinous and depraved murder, lying in wait and torture.
The three-page criminal complaint also states that Marsh was only 15 years old at the time of the murders, making the teen ineligible for life without the possibility of parole as well as the death penalty.
“I don’t even believe that’s on the table,” said Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Cabral, who has been assigned to prosecute the case. He said Marsh, if convicted, faces at most a 25-years-to-life term for each of the murders, plus one year for each of the deadly-weapon enhancements.
Cabral declined to elaborate on the information that led to the special-circumstance allegations, but said, “the special circumstances are just one of the factors that makes this an adult case as opposed to a juvenile case.”
For Mary Northup, Oliver Northup’s daughter and Maupin’s stepdaughter, the charges have virtually eliminated her hope — and that of her family’s — that the couple died in their sleep, unaware of the wounds inflicted upon them.
“Now, seeing the words ‘torture’ and ‘exceptional depravity,’ I imagine that they suffered, and that makes it hard to hold on to
compassion,” Northup said Tuesday.
She questioned whether the teen suffers from mental-health issues that went unrecognized, and if they had, whether her father and Maupin might still be alive.
“I hope that through a fair trial, some of our questions might be answered and, if the young man is found guilty, appropriate mental health care as well as punishment will be meted out,” Northup said.
In announcing Marsh’s arrest Monday night, Davis Assistant Police Chief Darren Pytel said investigators received “compelling information” leading them to the teen, and that he is the lone suspect in the double-homicide case.
Police did not release any additional information about the case Tuesday, including a possible motive in the killings and the relationship, if any, Marsh had with the slain couple. The criminal complaint alleges that Northup and Maupin were killed on April 13, a day before officers conducting a welfare check discovered their bodies.
Bill Marsh was renting the condominium just two doors away from the victims around the time of the murders, according to neighbors and Davis Enterprise circulation records. He moved out a couple of weeks later, after the family of the condo’s late owner put the residence up for sale.
The now-vacant condo was one of at least two residences where officers from the Davis Police Department, the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies served search warrants Monday, just hours before police announced the teenage suspect’s arrest.
Online records show Marsh’s mother, Sheri Hosking, resides at the second home that was searched in the 3300 block of Lillard Drive. No one answered the front door Tuesday morning or afternoon at the house, where the window shades were drawn, the porch light left on.
Hosking declined to comment when reached by phone Tuesday, as did another relative contacted at her West Davis home. Bill Marsh did not respond to messages left on his cell phone.
But both parents had swelled with pride during the Red Cross ceremony, with Bill Marsh describing his son as having “the will of a warrior, no doubt about that.”
“I’m extremely proud of my son and who he is,” Hosking told The Enterprise back then.
At the time he received those honors, Daniel Marsh attended Holmes Junior High School as well as the Davis School for Independent Study, an alternative learning program offered through the Davis school district. Police would not specify which school he currently attends, but his name appears in the current Davis High School student directory as a member of the Class of 2015. His photograph is in the sophomore section of the DHS yearbook.
Marsh claimed affiliation with DSIS two years ago when he set up a Twitter account, describing himself to his followers as “14, play lefty guitar, go to DSIS, 9th grade, cant really describe myself in typing you just have to know me,” though he never wrote a single tweet.
The Marsh family previously lived on Marina Circle in West Davis’ Stonegate neighborhood, where they purchased a five-bedroom home in the fall of 2006, according to online property records.
Their former next-door neighbor, David L. Johnson, recalled Tuesday that the parents separated not long after the family moved in, with Bill Marsh staying behind until the home went into foreclosure.
“The property was in terrible condition,” with front-yard landscaping that went unmowed, untrimmed and unwatered for months at a time, Johnson said. “It was an eyesore, and it looked like it was not a positive environment for a boy to be raised in.”
Johnson said he encountered Daniel Marsh only a handful of times, and while he remembered the boy as being quiet when they exchanged hellos, there were no signs that he was a troubled child.
However, “it does hit home that that person lived next door to me,” Johnson said. “You think, that happens in the newspapers or in the movies, not that that person is your next-door neighbor. It’s shocking.”
— Reach Lauren Keene at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene