Daniel Marsh was fifteen years old when he broke into an elderly couples home and butchered them. According to court documents Daniel Marsh not only stabbed the couple to death but after they were dead he removed organs from their bodies. Daniel Marsh who once was given an award for saving his fathers life was soon arrested and at trial this teen killer would be quickly convicted and received two sentences of twenty five years to life.
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A sigh of relief rushed over the courtroom as a Yolo County judge ruled Davis murderer Daniel Marsh would remain in prison to serve out his life sentence.
Friends and family members of the victims celebrated in the courthouse halls after the Wednesday ruling. Some said they could “sleep again” now that they know justice has been served.
Judge Samuel McAdam delivered his ruling following a lengthy transfer hearing for Marsh, who is now 21. The hearing reexamined the murders of Oliver “Chip” Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76, who were stabbed to death on April 14, 2013.
Marsh was 15 when he broke into their home with the intention of killing someone. It was this juvenile status at the time of the crimes coupled with the passage of Proposition 57 that necessitated Marsh’s reappearance in Yolo Superior Court.
McAdam listened to testimony that delved not only into the crime itself but Marsh’s state of mind before, during, and after the murders. Prop. 57 calls attention to factors such as the juvenile’s prior criminal history as well as the sophistication and gravity of the crime, in this case murder.
McAdam rehashed the facts of the case, calling attention to recent testimony, including that of defense expert and forensic child psychiatrist Matthew Soulier. McAdam pointed out Soulier’s unique perspective in that the psychiatrist evaluated Marsh during the original trial and then again for the transfer hearing. Soulier was able to draw a comparison on Marsh that no other expert could, McAdam said.
Soulier explained that much of Marsh’s trauma related to his parent’s divorce in earlier testimony.
Splitting his time between parents, Marsh “had no real accountability in life,” McAdam said. Soulier placed the blame on Marsh’s parents, who despite their son reporting homicidal thoughts to school professionals, failed to keep Marsh in therapy.
Marsh used drugs and alcohol with his friends, had an abusive sexual relationship with his girlfriend and watched “gore porn” on the internet.
“It was all very dark,” McAdam said of these activities.
“In retrospect, it is easy to criticize the parents,” McAdam continued. “But no one is to blame for the crimes here but Daniel Marsh.”
McAdam noted that “Marsh made every effort to conceal his crime,” and that he “left home with the intent to kill.” There was an extraordinary amount of sophistication in this crime, regardless of the offender’s age.
Another factor McAdam considered was whether Marsh could be rehabilitated by age 25, which would be his release date under Prop. 57.
Marsh only started utilizing mental health services in prison during the past six months, McAdam revealed, and his therapy sessions have been focused on adjusting to life behind bars. Although Marsh has not had a violent episode since he started his term, he has not worked through the trauma related to the murders themselves.
McAdam noted that his “counseling has been superficial” and he has yet to fully address his crimes.
“The court’s concern here is that these traumas are triggers,” he said. “He does well in a controlled setting but what happens when he is not in a controlled setting?”
McAdam found that there is “no chance” that Marsh will be rehabilitated before he turns 25.
McAdam, speaking to the gravity of the crime, highlighted Marsh’s video recorded police interview, in which the teenager described his crimes and the feelings connected to them.
“Marsh continued stabbing them because in his words ‘it just felt right,’” McAdam said. “The harm caused by these crimes is incalculable.”
McAdam referenced testimony from the victims’ friends and family, who continue to heal from Marsh’s actions.
“They are still in intense grieving over their deaths,” he said. “Their pain and suffering is palatable.”
On Wednesday, the same could be said for their joy.
“We can sleep again,” Victoria Hurd, the victims’ daughter, exclaimed outside the courtroom. “We are so relieved… we got justice. I feel like we had a really good victory today.”
With McAdam’s ruling Marsh was transferred back to prison to finish out his original sentence of 52 years to life.
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