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Nicholson pleads not guilty to killing mom
Waives right to speedy trial; bail set at $3 million
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Matthew Douglas Nicholson (right), seen here in this Dec. 23 photo attending church, is charged with shooting his mother, Lydia Suzi Orozco Nicholson, seen next to him. Loren Nicholson is at far left. He was credited with wrestling the gun during the Jan. 11 shooting in Ceres. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Matthew Douglas Nicholson, the Ceres man who was arrested and charged with shooting his mother in the head during a Jan. 11 domestic argument at their River Valley Circle home, entered not guilty pleas to a murder charge last week.

Nicholson, 28, was arraigned in the Stanislaus County Superior Court on Friday with attorney Saul Garcia at his side. Garcia waived his client's right to a speedy trial. After entering his plea bail, Judge Shawn Bessey set bail at $3 million. He will next appear in court for pretrial on Friday, Feb. 16.

Ceres Police arrested Nicholson shortly after he allegedly shot and killed his mother, Ceres resident Lydia Suzi Orozco Nicholson, 68, during a dispute over a broken video game headset. She died at a local hospital following the 9:48 p.m. shooting inside his bedroom.

Ceres Police Department spokesman Sgt. Greg Yotsuya said Nicholson was living with his parents and had been in his bedroom playing video games when he grew upset and began yelling. Lydia Nicholson went to see what was wrong with her son and the two began to argue. Yotsuya said Matthew ended up breaking the headset to his video game but blamed his mother and threatened to kill her and Nicholson's father, Loren Nicholson, 81. Sgt. Yotsuya said Nicholson then fetched a handgun and fired two rounds into a wall inside the home and then shot his mother in the head.

Police said Loren Nicholson wrestled the gun from his son. 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. He was brought to the Ceres Police Department for questioning and later booked into the Stanislaus County Jail for homicide.

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 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 retired from CUSD Educational Services in 2012.