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The Tragic Murder of Damon Nicholson: A Nightmare in Laguna
Damon Nicholson, known as the “peacemaker” amongst family and friends for his kind and caring ways, was found bludgeoned to death inside his Orange County home in October 2009. The murder of this beloved resident shocked the beachside community of Laguna, California, and left his family and friends devastated.
Damon Nicholson was a popular event planner and manager at Hotel Laguna, known for organizing social events and celebrations. He was well-respected both professionally and socially, mainly for being a prominent gay businessman in the area.
On the early morning of October 23, 2009, Damon Nicholson was attacked by two men who snuck into his house via an unlocked door. Jacob Anthony Quintanilla and Matthew Thomas Dragna fatally struck him at least five times using a baseball bat before robbing him of his laptop computer, a cell phone, and other electronics.
Reports state that authorities were only able to connect Quintanilla and Dragna to the crime after interrogating contacts from a gay dating website. Officers from the Long Beach Police department carried out multiple interviews that ultimately resulted in Dragna’s arrest. Police also discovered Damon Nicholson’s stolen possessions at Dragna’s residence and more stolen belongings in a garbage can two blocks from the latter’s house. Moreover, DNA evidence found at the scene also connected them to the crime.
A witness later revealed that they took then-19-year-old high school dropout, Matthew Thomas Dragna, to Damon Nicholson’s house for a threesome on the night before the attack on October 23. Then Dragna returned to his house a day later with his 20-year-old lover, Jacob Anthony Quintanilla.
Dragna was arrested in November 2009 and charged with murder committed during a robbery. Quintanilla was arrested in December. In 2013, Dragna was convicted of killing Nicholson. However, three years later, an appeals court mandated Dragna’s retrial, concluding that Laguna Beach police had violated his right to counsel by questioning him further.
Twelve years later, in October 2021, both Dragna and Quintanilla accepted respective plea deals. Dragna pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, burglary, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and also agreed to a sentencing enhancement. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Meanwhile, Quintanilla pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and burglary. He was sentenced to seven years and four months in prison, with his previously served 11 years behind bars considered.
The murder of Damon Nicholson was a nightmare for the tight-knit beachside community of Laguna. The Real Murders of Orange County will further delve into Damon Nicholson’s murder in the episode titled “Nightmare in Laguna,” premiering on Oxygen this Friday, May 26, at 9 pm ET. The episode will showcase how investigators use high-tech tools and old-fashioned shoe leather to capture two killers and restore calm to the community.
Damon Nicholson’s tragic death is a reminder that violence affects everyone, regardless of their popularity or status in the community. His family, friends, and colleagues will always remember him as a kind and caring person who made a positive impact on their lives.
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News Source : Nikita Mahato
Source Link :How did Damon Nicholson die?/