Oregon murder suspect arrested in Dos Palos after a standoff

April 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A murder suspect is in jail after a more than three hour SWAT standoff in the North Valley.

The standoff happened just a block away from Marks Elementary School on Mabel near Valeria in Dos Palos.

Leland Nicholson Junior will be extradited to Oregon. That's where he's wanted for killing a 28-year-old man and trying to kill a 36-year-old woman last Sunday. Nicholson is from Dos Palos, authorities say he thought he could hide out with relatives there, but he was wrong.

Nicholson was visibly upset as he sat in the back of a patrol car moments after his arrest in Dos Palos. The situation all started Monday morning when authorities say the murder suspect tried hiding out with relatives in this area. Police arrested his half-sister, Rebecca Paz, on Sunday for giving him food and shelter, but no one else seemed willing to help.

Sheriff Mark Pazin said, "There have been numerous 911 calls from family and friends in which this Nicholson character has been trying to find refuge here in the Dos Palos area."

Investigators say Nicholson forced his way into a house and refused to leave. He hid in a crawl space as the couple living there with their baby called authorities.

Sheriff Mark Pazin said, "The family was able to get out of there safely, and what makes this even more heinous is there were small children in the house."

Mario Malfabon says his seven-year-old daughter and five-year-old son were also staying in the house. He knows Nicholson, and says he never thought the 27-year-old would end up wanted for murder.

Malfabon explained, "I came over here and I was really scared and his brother actually is the one that told me my kids are safe and they're in school right now so that took a lot of stress off my shoulders."

Authorities locked down all schools in the area during the standoff, leaving many parents on edge.

Gina Ronquillo said, "That's scary, the moment we heard it a few days ago that right there just nerve-wracking knowing there's someone like that in town."

Nicholson finally surrendered around noon. In the video, you'll see the pictures a neighbor across the street captured of his arrest before deputies put him in the back of a car for a ride to the Merced County jail.

Nicholson is being held without bail. He'll be extradited to Klamath Falls, Oregon, but the exact timeline for his transfer has not yet been released.

Authorities say Nicholson's half-sister who was arrested was also arrested last year on drug and child endangerment charges.


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