Sequim man charged with second-degree murder in Port Angeles birthday party shooting
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Nathaniel Olson enters Clallam County Superior Court in Port Angeles on Wednesday. — Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Arraignment is set June 6 for a Sequim man charged with second-degree murder with an aggravated circumstance after the fatal shooting of a Port Angeles man at a birthday party.

Nathaniel Darren Olson, 27, was charged Wednesday in Clallam County Superior Court in the death of Matthew R. Baker, 25.

Baker was found dead of a single gunshot wound to the chest at a home at 1523 Monroe Road at about 12:40 a.m. May 22.

Olson remained in the Clallam County jail Wednesday on $500,000 bail.

During Wednesday’s hearing, John Black, Olson’s attorney, asked Judge Christopher Melly to lower Olson’s bail to $50,000 so Olson’s family could afford to post bond.

Black said Olson is no risk to the community because he has no felony criminal record.

Olson’s family would ensure that he returns to court if released, Black added.

“He’s not a flight risk, your honor, because frankly, he’s got a good job as a geoduck diver,” Black said.

Black said the facts, as presented in the county Sheriff’s Office’s probable-cause statement, are far from clear-cut.

“This isn’t a cut-and-dried case,” Black said.

“We have a case that may very well be an accident.”

County Prosecuting Attorney William Payne objected to lowering bail.

It’s too early to say all the facts in the case have been put forward,” Payne said.

“The investigation is ongoing, [and] facts are being developed.”

Payne also said a charge like murder can affect how a person behaves.

“We don’t know that [Olson] might not be a flight risk,” he said.

Melly ultimately kept Olson’s bail at $500,000.

Deputies called to the Monroe Road home said they found both Olson and Baker lying on the living room floor. Baker was on his back near the front door with a single gunshot wound to his chest.

Baker was pronounced dead by paramedics at the home.

Witnesses told deputies that Baker and Olson were alone in the living room.

Jason Holden — who was celebrating his birthday with his twin, Jeremy, at the house owned by his father — said he saw a black pistol next to Olson’s leg after hearing a bang at about midnight.

“Jason asked Nathaniel what happened, and Nathaniel responded by saying, ‘I shot him,’” Sheriff’s Detective Brian Knutson wrote in his report on the incident.

Sgt. Randy Pieper with the Sheriff’s Office found a .45-caliber Sig Sauer 191 model handgun on the dining room table on the second floor of the home.

The gun was not registered to anyone at the party, the Sheriff’s Office has said, though another witness told deputies Olson had displayed the pistol earlier in the evening May 21.

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

Last modified: May 28. 2014 6:42PM
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