Judge delays trial in beating death

The trial of two Lake Forest men accused of killing a Hotel Laguna catering manager in 2009 has been delayed.

Matthew Thomas Dragna and Anthony Jacob Quintanilla, who have been charged with killing Damon Nicholson, were scheduled for trial Friday but at the request of their defense counsel, the proceeding was continued to May 17, district attorney spokeswoman Farrah Emami said in an email.

Both men face one felony count of murder during the commission of a robbery, according to court records. The counts include enhancements for "special circumstances," which can lead to tougher sentences.

Dragna allegedly bludgeoned Nicholson, who police believe knew Dragna, in his North Laguna home Oct. 23, 2009, authorities said.

Police later arrested Quintanilla as a second suspect. They believe he accompanied Dragna and was there when Dragna allegedly beat Nicholson to death with a baseball bat.

Stolen items that were later recovered at Dragna's home helped lead police to Quintanilla, police said.

— Alisha Gomez

Twitter: @agomezberman

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World