A Goleta man accused of fatally stabbing his parents, two children and the family dog was charged Wednesday with four counts of murder with special allegations and a felony count of animal cruelty.
Nicolas Holzer, 45, appeared in a Santa Barbara County courtroom and delayed his arraignment and plea until Sept. 9.
He was arrested Monday after authorities say he called police dispatch about 11 p.m. and calmly told them he killed his family. He was waiting at the front door when officers arrived, authorities said.
Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies took Holzer into custody and went inside, where they found the bodies of William Holzer, 73; Sheila Holzer, 74; Sebastian Holzer, 13; and Vincent Holzer, 10.
All of them, including the family's Australian shepherd, died by stab wounds.
"There's nothing that springs out in terms of any motive or any event that would have preceded this terrible crime," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said at a news conference.
In interviews with detectives, Holzer allegedly told them he “had to” do it. He said it was to fulfill “what he believed was his destiny,” according to officials.
Holzer had no previous contact with the Sheriff's Department beyond a 1996 assault case in which he was a witness. He doesn’t have a criminal record and authorities said they have not responded to the home in the 600 block of Walnut Park in years.
Sheriff's Department officials said that Holzer obtained full custody of his sons nearly a decade ago, and that the three had been living at the home of Holzer's parents for seven years.
Detectives are looking into Holzer's mental health, Brown said.
Brown said the slayings were "another huge tragedy" for the community. Goleta is adjacent to Isla Vista, the beachside community where authorities allege that Elliot Rodger killed six people during a rampage earlier this year.