Nicholas Roth, a San Francisco Bay Area journalist, is suspected of killing his mother at her Walnut Creek, California home, police announced

Roth, 39, was arrested Monday and was charged with the murder of his mother, 74-year-old Darlene Roth, local reports indicate. 

The part-time sportswriter is being held on $1.16 million bond, according to Contra Costa County jail records. He is due back in court Friday afternoon to enter a plea. 

It was not immediately clear Friday morning if Roth had retained an attorney for his defense. 

Investigators Say Nicholas Roth Killed His Mother

In a statement released on Facebook Monday, Walnut Creek police said they responded to call about a stabbing at Darlene Roth’s house early that morning. 

When they arrived, officers said they performed “life saving measures” and quickly transported the 74-year-old to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead. 

“The suspect was determined to be the victim’s son,” police wrote. “He was located at the scene and placed under arrest for murder.” 

The East Bay Times — where Roth’s sports coverage had been published less than a week before his arrest —  reported that Roth was also charged with elder abuse. 

Authorities have not identified a motive in the brutal slaying. It’s also not clear if Roth and his mother were living together at the time of her death. 

“This is still an active investigation, so only limited information can be released at this time,” police wrote on Facebook. 

Police said 74-year-old Darlene Roth of Walnut Creek, California was stabbed to death by her son, Nicholas Roth, a Bay Area sports journalist.
Police said 74-year-old Darlene Roth of Walnut Creek, California was stabbed to death by her son, Nicholas Roth, a Bay Area sports journalist. Photo credit: Facebook

Nicholas Roth Was a ‘Part-Time Sportswriter’ 

According to local reports, Nicholas Roth was working part-time as a sports reporter for the Bay Area News Group, which owns several news outlets across northern California. 

His age has also been reported as 41, though county jail records show he is 39 years old. 

Law enforcement has not released a mug shot, but the journalist’s picture is publicly accessible via industry website MuckRack

Nicholas Roth, a San Francisco Bay Area sports journalist, was charged with murder. Police say he killed his mother, 74-year-old Darlene Roth, at her Walnut Creek home.
Nicholas Roth, a San Francisco Bay Area sports journalist, was charged with murder. Police say he killed his mother, 74-year-old Darlene Roth, at her Walnut Creek home. Photo credit: MuckRack.com

On his MuckRack page, Roth claimed to have written for several Bay Area news outlets, as well as a newspaper in Delaware. 

The accused killer’s most recent story was published by the San Jose Mercury News on Nov. 3 — just five days before police allege he stabbed his mother to death in her home. 

In their coverage of his arrest, both the Mercury News and the East Bay Times noted Roth’s affiliation with their outlets, though neither appeared to interview Roth’s coworkers about the allegations. 

Community Mourns Darlene Roth

Walnut Creek officials took to social media to mourn the loss of the 74-year-old victim. 

“I’m just devastated to find out about Darlene Roth of Walnut Creek, who was killed by her son on November 8th,” said Walnut Creek Mayor Kevin Wilk on Facebook Tuesday night. 

“Darlene was an enthusiastic and energetic volunteer in many community wide events,” the mayor continued. “She helped out during our Community Food Drive and was on the steering committee for the recent Sustainability Week. Rest In Peace Darlene, your memory lives on.”

Darlene Roth, second from left, was stabbed to death at her Walnut Creek, California home. Police believe her son, Bay Area sportswriter Nicholas Roth, killed his mother.
Darlene Roth, second from left, was stabbed to death at her Walnut Creek, California home. Police believe her son, Bay Area sportswriter Nicholas Roth, killed his mother. Photo credit: Facebook

According to the Times, Darlene Roth’s murder is the fourth this year in Walnut Creek, a city of about 70,000 some 16 miles east of Oakland. 

The city reported no homicides in 2019 or 2020, but had four in 2018, the report added.