Man indicted in fatal stabbing of parents, two sons and pet dog

Investigators remove a body from a Santa Barbara County home where four people were found stabbed to death.
(Steve Malone / Associated Press)
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A Goleta man was indicted by a Santa Barbara County grand jury Tuesday on suspicion of fatally stabbing his parents, two children and family dog.

Nicolas Holzer, 45, is charged with four counts of murder and one count of felony animal cruelty in the gruesome slaying of his family and their pet in August.

Holzer was arrested after authorities said he called police the night of Aug. 11 and calmly told them he killed his family. He was waiting at the front door when officers arrived, authorities said.


When Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies entered the home, 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, had been stabbed to death.

Sheriff Bill Brown said at the time that there did not appear to be a motive or “any event that would have preceded this terrible crime.”

In interviews with detectives, Holzer allegedly said he “had to” do it 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 had 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.

He is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 28.

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