The attorney for Daniel William Marsh, the 16 year old accused of murdering elderly Davis couple, Oliver Northup and Claudia Maupin in April, filed a motion to exclude the public from and prevent media coverage of Marsh’s preliminary hearing. Yolo County Deputy Public Defender Ronald Johnson argued in a 74 page motion that publicity could jeopardize his client’s right to a fair trial.
“The media surrounding Mr. Marsh has been extensive and sensational,” Johnson said in the motion. “The media coverage regarding the deaths of the victims has been pervasive, lasting for months. The coverage increased when Mr. Marsh was named as a suspect.”
Johnson cited over 70 items of print, broadcast and online coverage related to the case, which has even garnered international coverage.
“The media coverage has made a spectacle out of this case, and the potential jurors in Yolo County are unlikely to forget the assumptions and statements publicized by the news media before Mr. Marsh’s trial,” Johnson said.
According to The Sacramento Bee, Yolo County Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Cabral said prosecutors plan to file a response by the end of next week but had no further comments on the motion.
The Davis Enterprise reported that they plan to oppose the motion in court and said the public has a right to hear the evidence presented at the preliminary hearing.
Marsh is being tried as an adult and pleaded not guilty on June 19 to two counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances including lying in wait and torture.
The hearing on the motion is set for Aug. 29 and will be presided over by Yolo Superior Court Judge Timothy Fall. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 13 in Yolo County Superior Court.
— Paayal Zaveri