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Psych Evaluation Stalls Holzer Case

Evidence to Back Insanity Plea Still Pending


Alleged murderer Nicolas Holzer appeared in the Santa Barbara Superior Court Tuesday morning to tentatively schedule a trial for the murder of his parents and his two children last August.

Judge Brian Hill sought approval from the 45-year-old defendant and his public defender Christine Voss to hold the trial sometime before the end of next June, to which both agreed. But Hill highlighted one more hang-up still stalling the case’s progress: the court has not yet enlisted a psychiatrist to carry out the evaluation ordered for Holzer last August.

Nicolas Holzer
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Nicolas Holzer

Why the delay? According to Hill, most service fee estimates the court has thus far received from local medical professionals run higher than it can afford. One candidate, he reported, would have charged around $40,000. Since Holzer’s non-guilty plea rests largely on proof of insanity that the defense hopes to uncover through the evaluation, this obstacle seems to have slowed the progress of the case considerably in recent months.

Holzer faces four counts of first-degree murder charges and one felony count of animal cruelty for allegedly stabbing both his parents, both his two sons, and the family dog to death at their home on Walnut Park Lane in Goleta. Police arrived following a call from Holzer turning himself in for the crimes. He reportedly told authorities that it had been his “destiny” to murder his family. Holzer had sole custody of his sons and no prior criminal record.

The next hearing on the Holzer case will be held in mid-September.

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