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Trial date set for men accused in 2009 killing

Matthew Thomas Dragna and Jacob Anthony Quintanilla are scheduled to stand trial Jan. 11 in the death of Laguna Beach local Damon Nicholson.

September 04, 2012|By Joanna Clay

A jury trial is scheduled for two men accused of killing a Laguna Beach man in his home in 2009.

Matthew Thomas Dragna and Jacob Anthony Quintanilla, both of Lake Forest, are each charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery, according to court records. They will appear in court Jan. 11.

Dragna allegedly bludgeoned Hotel Laguna Catering Manager Damon Nicholson in his North Laguna home on Oct. 23, 2009, authorities say.

At the time of the arrest, Capt. Jason Kravetz said that he believed Dragna and Nicholson knew each other and Nicholson may have invited Dragna into the home.

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

Police said the men fled the home with items belonging to Nicholson, such as computer equipment, cell phones and clothing.

Dragna probably went to Nicholson's house with the intent to rob him, Kravetz said.

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

joanna.clay@latimes.com

Twitter: @joannaclay

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