She lost her life and he is facing life in prison. On Wednesday afternoon 39-year-old Quentin Bealer was charged in the strangling death of Red Bluff High School teen Marysa Nichols.
It was the first time Bealer has been seen publicly since his arrest on Saturday, and possibly the first time he realized the gravity of the situation.
Shackled as he walked into the courtroom, Quentin Bealer took a hard look at the press and public that came to see him charged. Security was tighter than normal in the room. Extra officers were brought in to prevent any vigilantism.
“We all had an interest in making sure it went well and we were also here to provide security to help the sheriff’s office out,” said Red Bluff Police Chief Paul Nanfito.
Bealer was arraigned on four charges. Three unrelated to the case included burglary, possession of stolen property and possession of a meth pipe.
But the main charge was for the murder of Marysa Nichols, it’s not clear if the crime was premeditated.
“The way we charged it is what is called an open count of murder. It allows us to test different theories at this point in time,” said Tehama County District Attorney Greg Cohen.
Also too early to determine is whether Bealer will face the death penalty. Special enhancements are required for capital punishment and the crime is still under investigation.
“We need the investigative results of DOJ and we will need the full reports from all the law enforcement agencies involved in the case,” said Cohen.
While it was the suspects first day in court, prosecutors are familiar with the case. They have been on board since the teen disappeared last week.
“We have a suspect, he has been charged with murder and we need the results from DOJ as well as the results from the law enforcement agencies to really tighten and finalize what the ultimate charges will be,” said Cohen.
This case will likely take a long time to go through the courts, but if convicted, Bealer faces a 25 years to life in prison.
He is due back in court on March 12.