June 19, 2013

Teen once lauded as hero is charged in Davis double-homicide case

A Davis teenager once lauded as a hero for saving his dad's life faces double homicide charges in the April stabbings of an elderly couple in their south Davis home.

Yolo County prosecutors Tuesday filed two felony first-degree murder allegations against 16-year-old Daniel William Marsh, according to a district attorney's complaint. Marsh, who was 15 at the time of the April homicides, is the only suspect in the case.

Prosecutors are charging him as an adult because he was older than 14 and is alleged to have killed people older than 65, according to the complaint.

The Bee is identifying the juvenile because he is being tried as an adult.

Attorney and local musician Oliver Northup, 87, and his wife, Claudia Maupin, 76, were killed at their home on Cowell Boulevard. Police said Marsh wasn't related to the victims and didn't know them. The youth's motives remain unknown. Police believe he took nothing from the victims' house.

Family members grew worried after Northup failed to show for an April 14 performance as a member of the popular local folk combo Putah Creek Crawdads. Police discovered their bodies at 9:20 p.m. April 14 during a welfare check.

In their charging document, prosecutors say Marsh committed first-degree murder "in a way that manifested exceptional depravity" on or about April 13.

They allege the slayings were "willful, deliberate and premeditated," and that Marsh "intentionally killed the victims by means of lying in wait." They also allege that Marsh "inflicted torture."

Because of his age, Marsh is ineligible for the death penalty but faces a life sentence if convicted.

Marsh was arrested Monday and is being held without bail at the Yolo County Juvenile Detention Facility.

The youth's arrest began to take shape over the weekend, with investigators developing "compelling information," Davis Police Lt. Glenn Glasgow said, that led to Marsh.

By Monday, Davis police had served search warrants at several locations, with assistance from the FBI and other law enforcement.

Two of those locations are on Lillard Drive and Cowell Boulevard, the Davis Enterprise reported.

Records show that Marsh's mother, Sheri Hosking, lives at the Lillard Drive home, while a neighbor told The Bee that Bill Marsh, the boy's father, recently lived at the Cowell Boulevard home.

By Monday evening, Marsh was in police custody.

The case shocked Davis in April when police made their grim discovery.

With Tuesday's revelation, the case took another stunning turn.

"Daniel Marsh is a hero," began a Bee story in 2009.

Marsh was widely praised as a 12-year-old in 2009 when he took the steering wheel of his family's station wagon and navigated to safety as his father suffered a near-fatal heart attack. Marsh then thumped his father's chest with his fist to restart the man's heart.

The American Red Cross of Yolo County honored Marsh that year at its annual Heroes Luncheon.

Cara Sheeran, who attended Davis Waldorf School with Marsh, described him as sweet and calm. "He's never aggressive," said Sheeran, 16, who attends high school in San Francisco. "I've never seen him be aggressive with anyone."

Sheeran attended the school from first to sixth grade, and described Marsh as a "smart guy" who didn't generally struggle in class. Sheeran, who also attended Oliver Wendell Holmes Middle School with Marsh, said he underwent a transformation in adolescence, including dyeing his hair black.

Sheeran said Marsh was easily injured, frequently ill, kind and withdrawn, and would be the last person to commit such a violent crime.

Marsh is to be arraigned today in Yolo Superior Court in Woodland.

Call The Bee's Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.

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