Detective says Dodge County homicide suspect confessed to crime
JUNEAU — A man accused of fatally shooting a 32-year-old Beaver Dam man confessed to the crime, according to a Dodge County Sheriff’s Office detective who testified during a preliminary hearing Thursday.
Nigel Schultz, 20, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Bradlee Gerke. He also is charged with hiding a corpse, theft from person or corpse, and two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon. He could face life in prison if convicted of the homicide charge.
Schultz appeared before Dodge County Judge Brian Pfitzinger with Public Defenders Katherine Findley and Ramneek Button. Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg called one witness, Dodge County Detective Michael Willmann to the stand.
Willmann said he was dispatched to N901 Redwing Road northwest of Ashippun on Oct. 31 after the sheriff’s office received a call that there was possibly a body on the property.
“The body was found in a shallow grave about 100 yards from the residence,” Willmann said.
The body belonged to Gerke, who had suffered 16 gunshot wounds. Willmann said that Schultz admitted to the homicide and pointed Schultz out in the courtroom.
Defense attorney Finley asked if Gerke also had a firearm.
Willmann said that Gerke had gone to the property to fire firearms with Schultz. The defense did not call any witnesses.
According to criminal complaints, the sheriff’s office received a call at 6:15 p.m. Oct. 31, alerting them that there was a body at the Redwing Road property. Gerke’s body was recovered that night.
The location of the body was reported by two people who own the property on which it was found, according to the criminal complaint. Both of the people knew Schultz. One of them told police that Schultz said he shot someone breaking into the house on Oct. 28 and that she should not tell anyone. That witness said she had seen the body and both witnesses helped police responding on Oct. 31 locate the site where Gerke’s remains were found.
The other witness told police that Schultz had told him he “ran someone out of the house” and that he had met with Schultz to discuss the incident at a gas station in Ashippun. He told police the license plate of the van Schultz was in when they met and police found it was registered to Rebecca Wolc, 32, formerly of Beaver Dam.
According to the criminal complaint, Schultz originally told police that the property owner who reported the dead body had shot Gerke, but later admitted that he was the one who shot Gerke. He said he shot Gerke in the back of the head with a derringer and multiple times with a .22 caliber rifle. The autopsy found that there were 10 gunshot wounds to the head and six gunshot wounds to the chest.
Schultz has a long criminal history, with felony convictions for violent offenses dating to when he was 17. According to the homicide complaint, Schultz told police that prior to Oct. 28, he believed Gerke was going to report him to authorities so his probation would be revoked.
Schultz was located in Wolc’s former apartment on Lake Crest Drive in Beaver Dam in the early morning of Nov. 1. However, according to the criminal complaint, Wolc originally denied he was in her apartment. Schultz eventually surrendered.
The complaint says that Wolc denied knowing that Gerke had been shot before admitting she had seen Gerke’s body after he was shot and that she and Schultz told Gerke’s mother, who had been watching Wolc’s children, he had gone to La Crosse with a woman.
Wolc has been charged as an accomplice in the case. Wolc is charged with harboring or aiding a felon. Wolc, who is free on a $1,000 cash bond, has an arraignment scheduled for Jan. 16.
Pfitzinger found probable cause and Schultz has an arraignment scheduled Jan. 30. He has been in custody in the Dodge County Jail on a $5 million cash bond since Nov. 1.