A clinical psychologist, testifying as a prosecution expert witness, had found during an evaluation of accused killer Daniel Marsh that the adolescent may have exaggerated symptoms of a reaction to antidepressant medications he took about the time he allegedly committed his crimes. While testifying in Yolo Superior Court on September 12, Dr. James Rokop explained he had learned Marsh had discussed “overplaying” symptoms of a drug reaction with other inmates in Yolo County’s juvenile detention facility.
Marsh changed his guilty plea in the case to not guilty by reason of insanity back in June of this year. Marsh and his lawyers have based his defense on his taking antidepressant and mood-stabilizing drugs in April, 2013, when he allegedly murdered Oliver “Chip” Northup, 87 and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76, in their South Davis condominium.
Deputy Public Defender Ron Johnson asserted that Marsh’s medications caused his mental disease to escalate to the point where his homicidal urges became uncontrollable. Rokop, however, said during his testimony that Johnson’s assertion in that regard does not jibe with reports that Marsh’s depression and academic work seemingly improved while he was on the drugs. Rokop said these reports were made by doctors and teachers who routinely spoke with Marsh.
The psychologist testified that Marsh referred to his alleged victims as “stupid Davis people. They deserved this characterization, Marsh told Rokop, because the couple had left their window open so he could creep into their home. Rokop then testified in terrible detail Marsh’s description of the attacks.
Marsh told Rokop he got “an emotional high” which did not last long after the killings. In subsequent days, Rokop testified, Marsh killed several cats and a raccoon that lived in his neighborhood.
Public Defender Ron Johnson completed his partial cross-examination of Rokop during the afternoon of September 12. He’ll pick up his cross-examination as the trial continues this week. If Marsh is found guilty of the murders, a second phase of the trial begins; jurors must then determine whether Marsh was legally sane or insane when the murders occurred.
Davis Enterprise: Psychologist: Marsh had ‘predatory aggression,’ not psychosis
Daily Democrat: Psychologists’ evaluation of Daniel Marsh ruled out psychosis