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No plea for Santa Barbara quadruple murder suspect, arraignment postponed

Stock photo: Flickr member Tex Texin

UPDATE: August 13, 2014 at 5:21 p.m.

The Santa Barbara County man accused of killing his parents and two young boys Monday night made his first appearance in court Wednesday afternoon, but did not enter a plea.

A continuance was granted in the case against 45-year-old Nicolas Holzer at the hearing.

District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced the charges against Holzer Wednesday morning, saying he faces four murder counts and one count of felony animal cruelty. 

Sheriff's deputies say Holzer calmly told them he committed the crimes, claiming he had to do it as part of his destiny. Sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said Holzer called 9-1-1 on Monday night around 11 o'clock and told the operator about the slayings. When deputies arrived, they say he met them at the front door.

Holzer is currently in the Santa Barbara County Jail while he awaits his arraignment continuation which has been rescheduled for September 9, 2014,  Senior Deputy District Attorney Ronald Zonen told KCBX News.

UPDATE: August 12, 2014 at 6:36 p.m.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has positively identified the suspect and the four victims he murdered Monday night inside a home on Walnut Park Lane in the unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County.

The suspect is 45-year-old Nicolas Holzer of Santa Barbara and the victims are his parents, 73-year-old William Holzer and 74-year-old Sheila Holzer, his two sons, 13-year-old Sebastian Holzer and 10-year-old Vincent Holzer. The family dog was also killed.

All of the deceased had been fatally stabbed, according to deputies.

"Just after 11 o'clock last night Nicolas Holzer called 9-1-1, and in a very calm and matter of fact way he told a dispatcher that he had killed his family," said Sheriff's Department Spokeswoman Kelly Hoover. "When sheriff's deputies arrived, he met them at the front door and without any incident was taken into custody."

Deputies conducted a search of the property and found a dead Australian Shepard-type dog deceased in a hallway, the suspect’s father in the den, the suspect’s mother at the threshold to, and the two boys within, a bedroom. All of the victims were determined to be deceased.

Two large kitchen knives that are believed to be the murder weapons were recovered from the scene.

The suspect told detectives he had killed his family to fulfill what he believed was his destiny, Hover told KCBX. He said he had committed the murders shortly before he called 9-1-1. He claimed to have killed his father first, then the children, then his mother and finally the family dog.

When asked why he committed these crimes, he claimed “I had to,” the sheriff's office reports. 

The Sheriff’s Office did not have any prior documented contact with Holzer except for an assault case from 1996 in which he was a witness. He does not appear to have any criminal history and there have not been any law enforcement calls for service at the residence the past several years.

Original Story:

A 46-year-old man was was being held Tuesday morning by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department as a suspect in the murders of four people and a dog Monday night.

Deputies were called out to the residence located in the 600 block of Walnut Park Lane, located between Goleta and Santa Barbara, just after 11 p.m. Monday.

The suspect was taken into custody without incident, according to the sheriff's office. There are no additional suspects outstanding.

Four victims and a dog were discovered in the home with multiple stab wounds. The victims were all deceased when deputies arrived on the scene. The names of the victims and the suspect are being withheld at this time until next of kin can be located and notified.