A co-worker discovered Nicholson's body after the victim failed to show up for work on Friday. The co-worker told investigators that he found a sliding door open and Nicholson's body on the couch.
Police say Nicholson, a long time Laguna Beach resident, died of blunt force trauma.
It's unclear if he knew his killer or if he was surprised by an intruder.
Neighbors and Mayor Kelly Boyd say they are shocked by the killing.