Parents Killed Son Charged

MURDER VICTIMS — Maria Morse and her husband Wayne Morse were among the victims in a February attack at a Newport Beach home. Maria Morse was the house­keeper for Kim and Richard Nicholson, who also were found dead at the home.

NEWPORT BEACH — Kim Nicholson’s troubled son disappeared last year, but he sent his parents disturbing text messages and they learned he had placed a 911 call. Fearing he might have died, they hired a private investigator in early February to track him down.

Just days later, on Feb. 13, police found Nicholson, her husband and their housekeeper dead in the family’s home in a gated com­munity in Newport Beach.  One of the women’s eyes appeared gouged.

Authorities had been sum­moned by the Nich­ol­son’s missing son, Camden, who had gone to a hospital, called police and confessed to the killings, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. He said he killed his parents because he didn’t want them to send him to a psy­chiatric hospital for eval­uation, Newport Beach Detective Richard Henry wrote in an affidavit for a warrant to search the family’s cars and home.

Camden Nicholson, 28, is to be arraigned today on three counts of mur­der for the deaths of his moth­er and father, Rich­ard Nicholson, and their house­keep­er, Maria Morse. His attorney, Jes­sica Ann Watts, did not re­turn messages seeking com­ment.

The case shocked the affluent community where the Nicholsons lived and volunteered at a nearby Mormon temple. Some who knew the couple said they were unaware of their son’s troubles.

Police documents and a law­suit filed by Morse’s hus­band and adult chil­dren describe Camden Nich­ol­son as a disturbed man apparently fueled by drugs.

He went missing in De­cem­ber and his mother filed a missing person re­port advising that her son had Asperger’s syndrome, de­pres­sion and anger is­sues, Henry wrote. Po­lice found Nicholson at a nearby hotel and de­ter­mined there weren’t grounds to place him on a psy­chiatric hold.

Camden Nicholson did not return home and in Jan­uary his parents can­celed a credit card after their son used it to leave a $1,000 tip. They also re­ceived disturbing text mes­sages and on a cell­phone call log saw that in early Feb­ruary he had dialed 911, said Michael Youssef, the investigator hired by the couple.

Youssef said Kim Nich­ol­son told him her son had been healthy until he went on a Mormon mission to Flo­rida in 2010. Prior to that he played golf at the Uni­versity of Utah.

Kim Nicholson said her son had been using ster­oids and marijuana and the couple wanted to seek a conservatorship to get him treatment, Youssef said.

“What I understood is he’s not physically dan­ger­ous — he could get mad and angry, but not to a physical point,” Youssef said.

But the Nicholsons had been threatened by their son and Kim Nicholson left home for some time in 2018 fear­ing for her safety, said Ed­ward Susolik, an at­tor­ney representing Morse’s fam­ily in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Camden Nicholson had been injecting steroids at the family’s home and told his mother he wanted to kill his father and made vio­lent threats toward his moth­er, according to the law­suit. But the family con­tinued to have Morse, who worked for them for 12 years, clean their home on a weekly basis, the lawsuit said.

“Based on my under­stand­ing of the facts, the Nicholsons were in denial regarding their re­spon­sib­ility for their son’s violent tendencies,” he said.

When he was arrested, Nicholson had cuts on his fingers and was sweating. His speech was incoherent and he shook randomly at times, leading police to believe he may have taken narcotics, Henry wrote.

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