Two men charged in death of Glendale man

Two men were charged Wednesday in the death of a 25-year-old missing Glendale man whose body was discovered in a shallow grave in the Angeles National Forest.

Donald Thurman, 26, and Erik Pearson, 21, both of Burbank, each face one felony count of murder in the death of Nicholas Carter, according to a Los Angeles County criminal complaint.

Prosecutors allege Thurman and Pearson beat Carter to death and then dumped his body in the forest. They then stole his credit cards, according to a statement from Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Thurman had initially been arrested Jan. 24 on an outstanding warrant for grand theft, and he already faces nearly a dozen charges in connection with allegedly embezzling $28,820 from the Boy Scouts Verdugo Hills Council in Glendale in 2011.

Glendale police logged a missing persons report for Carter about 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 18 — a day before Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide detectives and search-and-rescue teams discovered his body near Big Tujunga Canyon Road at mile marker 2.72.

Coroner’s officials later determined that Carter died of blunt force trauma.

Carter, who didn’t have a car and lived with a roommate, was last seen on the evening of Jan. 7 watching a football game with a friend. That same day, Carter posted a link to a video for the rapper Gunplay at 6:13 p.m. on his Facebook account.

The following afternoon on Jan. 8, a hiker reported finding a shallow grave. It wasn’t until more than a week later that authorities discovered Carter's body.

As the investigation into his death unfolded, authorities described Carter as a “normal guy” who didn’t have a criminal history. He studied business management economics at UC Santa Cruz, according to his Facebook page.

[For the Record 4 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Thurman was a Glendale resident.]

-- Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.


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