Orange County District Attorney Press Release
For Immediate Release, Case # 09HF2013: December 10, 2013
*Co-defendant is awaiting trial in this case
SANTA ANA – A man faces trial tomorrow for the bludgeoning-murder of a Laguna Beach resident inside his apartment. Matthew Thomas Dragna, 23, Lake Forest, charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Department C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.
Co-defendant Jacob Anthony Quintanilla, 25, Lake Forest, faces the same charges and maximum sentence as Dragna. He faces a pre-trial hearing Jan. 10, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-35.
On Oct. 23, 2009, Dragna and Quintanilla are accused of going to the Laguna Beach home of 40-year-old Damon Nicholson. The defendants are accused of murdering the victim by bludgeoning him repeatedly in the torso and head with a baseball bat. They are accused of leaving the victim’s body on his couch and fleeing the scene after stealing personal items from Nicholson including a laptop computer and cell phone.
The victim was discovered Oct. 24, 2009, when a concerned co-worker went to check on him after Nicholson failed to show up for work or return any phone calls.
Dragna was arrested Nov. 18, 2009, by the Laguna Beach Police Department (LBPD). At the time of his arrest, Dragna is accused of being in possession of stolen items from the victim’s home. Quintanilla was arrested by LBPD Dec. 4, 2009, as a result of additional investigation and forensic evidence collected from Nicholson’s stolen property.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney 401 Civic Center Drive West Santa Ana, CA 92701