Bealer charged in teen's murder
A memorial service is being held for Marysa Nichols at 11 a.m. today at Cavalry Chapel, 12375 Paskenta Road, Red Bluff.
Quentin Ray Bealer sat in the courtroom dressed in orange and red inmate clothing, his hands shackled to his sides and his head bowed, quietly listening as the judge stated he was charged with a single count of murder.
The 39-year-old Red Bluff man is accused of killing 14-year-old Marysa Nichols, whose body was found Feb. 28 in a creek near Red Bluff High School.
The teen's preliminary cause of death has been determined to be strangulation, according to the Red Bluff Police Department.
Bealer's arraignment on Wednesday in Tehama County Superior Court attracted a slew of law enforcement.
Tehama County District Attorney Gregg Cohen said he filed the murder charge as an open count so his office could proceed on a first-degree theory.
"As more information comes from the Department of Justice, we will further refine exactly how to handle this case," the district attorney said.
Judge Matthew C. McGlynn said the murder charge has a possible prison sentence of 25 years to life.
The judge also charged Bealer with second-degree commercial burglary, receiving stolen property, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The charges stem from an arrest that took place in December.
An additional count of being under the influence of a controlled substance was added to the list of charges by McGlynn. This count derived from the defendant's arrest on March 2 at the Red Bluff Police Department.
It was while Bealer was in custody on this last charge that he was arrested for suspicion of Nichols' murder.
The only word Bealer uttered in the courtroom was a "yes" when the judge asked if he needed court-appointed counsel. Public Defender Kenneth Miller was assigned to the case.
McGlynn approved Cohen's request that Bealer be held in the Tehama County Jail without bail. Tehama County sheriff's Capt. Danny Rabalais said Bea er is being kept in segregation for his own safety.
"Our job is to protect all inmates while they are in our custody," Rabalais said.
Nichols was reported missing at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 by her mother, Diane Whitmire, after the girl did not return home from school.
Red Bluff High School surveillance video of Nichols walking in the direction of Brickyard Creek, her typical path home from Red Bluff High School's Education Outreach Academy, also showed a white male in that vicinity around the same time.
The police released the video to the media on March 1 and asked for help in identifying the man.
Red Bluff police Chief Paul Nanfito said that the department received "dozens and dozens of tips" from the video.
"He (Bealer) was positively ID'd as the person on the surveillance tape," the chief sad.
Nanfito said the department is still seeking the publics' assistance in finding two items possibly related to the crime - a pair of red shorts, described as "Dickies" style; and an iPod in a pink removable case which was in Nichols' possession at the time of her disappearance around 11 a.m. on Feb. 26.
Police are also seeking access to video surveillance from residences and businesses taken in the areas north of Luther Road, east of Baker Road, south of Walbridge Road and west of Main and South Main streets, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Feb. 26.
Bealer's next court appearance is for further arraignment proceedings at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
"That will be a felony law and motion hearing and possibly a time to discuss scheduling a preliminary hearing," Cohen said.