Son accused of killing parents, housekeeper in Newport Beach gated community


A 27-year-old man was charged Friday in the killings of his parents and their housekeeper in a Newport Beach home.

Richard Nicholson, 64, and Kim Nicholson, 61, both of Newport Beach, and Maria Morse, 57, of Anaheim were found dead Wednesday night in a home at 36 Palazzo, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

The suspect, Camden Burton Nicholson, is charged with three counts of murder with a sentencing enhancement allegation of multiple slayings. During a court appearance Friday, he delayed entering a plea until March 8 and is being held without bail.


Newport Beach police said Friday that he is the son of Richard and Kim Nicholson and that Morse was the couple’s housekeeper.

Newport police received a call from Irvine police shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday requesting a welfare check at the couple’s home on Palazzo. The call came after Irvine police spoke with a man, later identified as Camden Nicholson, in the emergency room of a medical facility.

When Newport officers arrived at the house, they found the bodies of two women and a man. Authorities did not release details about the circumstances or manner of the deaths.

Richard Nicholson was chief executive of West Pacific Medical Laboratory until it was purchased two years ago by Sonic Healthcare USA. He stayed on as a consultant through its rebranding as WestPac Labs last month, according to Staton Shed, interim president of WestPac Labs.

“He was a really good man who was looking to help people. It’s truly a loss,” Shed said. “I was just amazed someone at his level looked out for everyone he worked with, including staff and clients.”

The Orange County Business Journal honored Richard Nicholson in 2001 as one of eight Ernst & Young Entrepreneurs of the Year.


Richard and Kim Nicholson were longtime supporters of Orange County Coastkeeper, a Costa Mesa-based environmental group for which Richard was a board member for 15 years. The nonprofit was shocked by their deaths, said Executive Director Garry Brown. Richard had planned to attend a strategic planning meeting for the board the night his body was found, Brown said.

“He’s been an integral part of our board,” Brown said. “Very supportive and very giving of himself and his time. It’s just such a tragic loss.”

Outside of his business and philanthropic work, Richard Nicholson enjoyed backcountry skiing and chartered helicopters to drop him off at remote peaks that he would ski down.

Camden Nicholson’s online profile identifies him as a devout Mormon missionary who attended the University of Utah. He graduated from Corona del Mar High School and lives in Costa Mesa, according to his Facebook profile.

Morse’s family could not be reached for comment Friday.