Burbank man pleads guilty in killing of man whose body was found in shallow grave

A Burbank man pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on Wednesday for his part in the death of a Glendale man whose body was found buried in a shallow grave in the Angeles National Forest four years ago.

Erik Pearson, 26, faces 25 years to life in prison for his involvement in the death of 25-year-old Nicholas Carter.

Also on Wednesday, jury selection began in the trial of another Burbank man allegedly involved in the death, 31-year-old Donald Thurman, who faces life in prison without parole if convicted.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said the pair beat Carter to death before dumping his body in the forest. They then stole his credit cards.

Carter was last seen on Jan. 7 watching a football game on television with a friend. He also posted a link to a rap video on his Facebook account that evening.

On Jan. 8, a hiker reported coming across a shallow grave in the forest. However, investigators were unable to find a body at that time.

It wasn’t until Jan. 19 that Carter’s body was uncovered — several hundred yards away from where the hiker said the grave was located.

Thurman was arrested for his alleged connection with the murder later that month, having initially been booked for reportedly embezzling nearly $30,000 from the Boy Scouts Verdugo Hills Council in 2011. Pearson was arrested the following month.

Both initially pleaded not guilty to the murders.

Pearson’s sentencing is scheduled for July 17.

andy.nguyen@latimes.com

Twitter: @Andy_Truc

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