Alleged shooter in birthday party killing expected to be charged with second-degree murder Wednesday

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A Sequim man is expected to be charged with second-degree murder this Wednesday in the shooting death of a Port Angeles man at a birthday party.

Nathaniel Darren Olson, 27, was booked into the Clallam County jail for investigation of second-degree murder after Matthew R. Baker, 25, was killed by a single gunshot to the chest at a house at 1523 Monroe Road early Thursday morning.

Deputies were called to the home at 12:04 a.m.

Olson made his first appearance in court Friday afternoon. He remained in jail Saturday on $500,000 bail.

During Friday's hearing, Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney William Payne asked that Judge Christopher Melly set Olson's bail at $1 million because of the seriousness of the allegation.

John Black, Olson's defense attorney, described $1 million bail as excessive because of Olson's lack of felony history.

“We understand this is a very serious charge, and it's a terrible thing what has happened for both of these families,” Black said.

“We would ask the court to consider a lot less, more reasonable bail that would satisfy the community and the court that [Olson is] going to be returning [to court] and allow Nate to get back to the community,” Black continued.

Black described Olson as a “pretty good guy” who has lived in Clallam County his entire life and works as a geoduck diver.

Ron Cameron, chief criminal deputy with the Sheriff's Office, said the birthday party was for twins Jason and Jeremy Holden, who sparked a national controversy in April when they staged the fake kidnapping of a 3- or 4-year-old boy from Carrie Blake Park, saying they wanted to raise awareness.

Their father, David Holden, lives at the Monroe Road home, while the brothers live in Tacoma.

Neither was involved in the shooting, according to deputies.

Jason Holden told Sheriff's Detective Brian Knutson he had fallen asleep at the party and was awakened at about midnight by a “bang.”

He heard his cousin Terra Smithson, described as Baker's girlfriend, yelling for someone to call 9-1-1.

Upstairs, Holden found his cousin lying over a man he did not know, later identified as Baker, and Olson sitting at the fireplace in the living room.

He saw a black pistol next to Baker's leg.

“Jason asked Nathaniel what happened, and Nathaniel responded by saying, 'I shot him,'” Knutson wrote in his report.

After arriving at the home, Sgt. Randy Pieper found Baker dead and Olson lying on the floor in the living room.

Pieper said he found a .45-caliber Sig Sauer 191 model handgun on the dining room table on the second floor of the home.

Deputies have sent several pieces of evidence, such as the .45-caliber handgun found at the house, to the State Patrol crime lab for analysis.

“[The gun] wasn't registered to any given person — nobody [at the home], anyway,” Cameron said.

Olson declined to talk with deputies after he was arrested, the Sheriff's Office said.

Smithson told deputies that Baker and David Holden had fought at the party, attended by five to seven people, and that she had to pull David Holden off Baker, Knutson said.

After the fight, Smithson told deputies that people were in the dining room area drinking.

She said she then heard a “pop” and went into the living room to find Olson standing next to the fireplace while Baker was lying on his back near the front door.

“[Smithson] said she asked Nathaniel what happened, and Nathaniel stated, 'He came at me,'” Knutson wrote in his report.

Smithson told investigators that Olson had displayed a pistol earlier in the evening Wednesday.

Knutson said Olson has a concealed pistol license that expires June 15.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 24. 2014 6:16PM
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