The Ceres man who was living with his parents when he shot and killed his mother during an altercation stemming from his excessive video gaming was sentenced last week to serve a 27-years-to-life sentence in state prison.
Matthew Douglas Nicholson, 32, of Ceres, was convicted of the Jan. 11, 2018 murder of his mother, Lydia Suzi Orozco Nicholson, 68, as well as assault with a firearm along with an enhancement for using a firearm.
Nicholson pled guilty on April 23 to a second-degree murder charge and assault with a firearm and admitted the enhancement for using a firearm in each crime.
Shortly after his arrest Nicholson initially had entered a not guilty plea.
Ceres Police arrested Nicholson shortly after he shot and killed his mother during a dispute over a broken video game headset. The shooting occurred at the Nicholsons’ home on River Valley Circle. She died at a local hospital following the 9:48 p.m. shooting inside his bedroom.
Nicholson was in his bedroom playing video games when he became upset and began yelling. Lydia Nicholson went to see what was wrong and the two began to argue. Police said Matthew ended up breaking the headset to his video game but blamed his mother and threatened to kill her and his father, Loren Nicholson, then 81. Police determined that Nicholson then fetched a handgun and fired two rounds into the wallboard inside the bedroom and then shot his mother in the head. She died after arriving at the hospital.
He then turned the gun towards his father’s chest, but it didn’t fire. Nicholson eventually handed the gun to his father and left the house.
The suspect fled, driving to the Riverbank home of his sister, Autumn White who reported his whereabouts to authorities. Officers stopped Nicholson's car in Riverbank and arrested him during a high-risk vehicle stop.
Nicholson had been employed as a paraprofessional with Empire Union Elementary School District’s After School Education & Safety (ASES) program from 2011 to February 2017. He was hired by the Ceres Unified School District in the fall but quit on Nov. 6, 2017 after two weeks for personal reasons. He then found work with Salida schools. Nicholson was reportedly popular with Empire students and staff members observed that he was a nice and polite young man.
Lydia Nicholson had been a retiree from CUSD Educational Services since 2012.
Deputy District Attorney Erin Schwartz prosecuted the case.
On May 28 sentencing hearing before Judge Shawn Bessey, multiple family members and friends of Lydia Nicholson gave victim impact statements. Her daughter told the court how her “world absolutely shattered” that night and that each day since then has been an “absolute nightmare.” Others spoke about Lydia as being like a second mother to them or mentioned how she always made them feel welcome in her home as if they were part of the family.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Bessey noted the senselessness of the crime.