|For Immediate Release
Case # 09HF2013
December 8, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
SECOND LAKE FOREST MAN CHARGED FOR BLUDGEONING AND MURDERING MAN IN
LAGUNA BEACH APARTMENT
*Defendant’s friend was arrested and charged in November 2009 in this case
SANTA ANA – A second defendant has been charged for his role in the bludgeoning-murder of a Laguna Beach resident inside his apartment. Jacob Anthony Quintanilla, 21, Lake Forest, and co-defendant Matthew Thomas Dragna, 19, Lake Forest, are each charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery and face a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. Both defendants are being held without bail. Quintanilla is expected to be arraigned today, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009, at 1:30 p.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. Dragna is scheduled for a continued arraignment Jan. 8, 2010, at 8:30 a.m. in Department CJ-1.
On Oct. 23, 2009, Dragna and Quintanilla are accused of going to the Laguna Beach home of 40-year-old Damon Nicholson. The defendants are accused of bludgeoning the victim by repeatedly hitting him in the torso and head with a blunt object. They are accused of leaving the victim on his couch and fleeing the scene after stealing personal items from Nicholson including a laptop computer and cell phone.
The victim was discovered Oct. 24, 2009, when a concerned co-worker went to check on the victim after Nicholson failed to show up for work or return any phone calls.
Dragna was arrested Nov. 18, 2009, by the Laguna Beach Police Department (LBPD). At the time of his arrest, Dragna is accused of being in possession of stolen items from the victim’s home. Quintanilla was arrested by LBPD Dec. 4, 2009, as a result of additional investigation and forensic evidence collected from Nicholson’s stolen property.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact LBPD’s investigative division at (949) 497-0371 or Supervising District Attorney Investigator Ed Berakovich at (714) 347-8492.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.