The sanity phase of the trial for a Goleta-area man who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to stabbing his family to death in 2014 got underway Wednesday in Santa Barbara County.
A judge earlier this month already found Nicolas Holzer, 48, guilty of first-degree murder and one count of animal cruelty for killing his family, but now must decide if he was sane at the time of the killings.
In August 2014, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Holzer at his Goleta-area home after he called 911 to report the crime. His mother, father, two sons, and the family dog were found stabbed to death.
Shortly before the guilt phase of Holzer’s trial began, both sides agreed to a court trial, meaning a judge, not a jury, would decide his fate.