A man in Goleta, California, has murdered his sons, his parents and his dog because he felt as though he was destined to do so, said Santa Barbara County authorities on Tuesday. Sheriff Bill Brown shared Nicolas Holzer’s motive with reporters who were gathered for a news conference following the stabbing deaths.
Holzer, 46, killed his family in the home they all shared, which is located near the University of California, Santa Barbara. After he had stabbed his mother, father and two sons, Vincent, 10, and Sebastian, 13, on Monday, Holzer phoned police, calmly explaining to the dispatcher that he had murdered his family. Authorities arrived on the scene at approximately 11:00 p.m. on Monday night. Upon their arrival, Holzer met the officers at the front door of his parents’ home and was arrested without a struggle at the scene.
According to Brown, investigators of the scene believe that Holzer first killed his father, William, 74, who was in the den of the home. After stabbing him to death, Holzer then went to his sons’ bedroom. Both boys were asleep when Holzer stabbed them multiple times. After killing his children, police believe he killed his mother, Sheila, 74, at the entrance to the boys’ bedroom, and then finished his rampage by stabbing his dog, which appeared to be some sort of Australian shepherd, to death. Upon searching the home, deputies discovered two kitchen knives which they believe were used in the murders.
William Holzer was a well-known scientist. He and his wife were highly visible in their California community and donated money to the Santa Barbara Zoo, the United Way and various political campaigns. Vincent was a student at Foothill Elementary School, while his brother went to school at La Colina Junior High.
Holzer and his sons had lived with his parents in their home for the past seven years. He was divorced from the children’s mother and had been granted full custody. No police activity or other incident had been reported at the home, located in the city of Goleta, which has 30,000 residents and is located approximately 10 miles away from Santa Barbara, during the last few years. Brown did relay that deputies had prior contact with Nicolas Holzer in 1996 when he had witnessed an assault, but that he had no criminal history. When detectives questioning Nicolas Holzer asked him why he had killed his family, he responded that he “had to.”
He is being detained without bail at the Santa Barbara County Jail on four counts of murder. A charge of animal cruelty is also pending against him. No information is available as to when he is due in court or if he has hired a lawyer to represent him.
Goleta is located near Isla Vista, California, an area made famous by the killing spree in May of 2014 in which Elliot Rodger, 24, attacked twenty people, killing six, before taking his own life. Rodger left behind a chilling videotape which some refer to as his “manifesto” in which he blamed the women who had rejected him throughout his life for his pending actions and outlined his plan for the murderous rampage that followed. Residents of the area near the University of Santa Barbara are shocked to find themselves in the midst of another mass murder.
By Jennifer Pfalz