(Ashippun) A rural Ashippun woman was convicted Thursday of helping to cover-up the murder of a Beaver Dam man. Dakota Schlesner was initially charged with Hiding A Corpse but instead pled no contest to an amended charge of felony Harboring A Felon by Falsifying Information. A pre-sentencing investigation was ordered and the 21-year-old Schlesner faces up to 18 months in prison, and two years of extended supervision, when she is sentenced on January 9.
Nigel Schultz of Portage was convicted in August of First Degree Intentional Homicide in the death of Bradlee Gerke. The 21-year-old Schultz at first denied the crime but later confessed to shooting the victim with a 38-Derringer and a .22-rifle a total of sixteen times. He will be sentenced two days before Schlesner, on January 7. Rebecca Wolc of Beaver Dam pled no contest last month to one felony count of Harboring or Aiding a Felon and the 33-year-old will be sentenced on January 16.
On October 28 of last year, Schultz contacted Schlesner – his ex-girlfriend – and instructed her to come to her parent’s Ashippun farm. That’s where Schultz showed Schlesner the body. Schultz admitted to Schlesner that he killed Gerke. After showing Schlesner the remains, Schultz told her (quote) “Now you know what I can do, so don’t tell anybody.” Schultz then had Schlesner help move and bury Gerke. A few days later, Schlesner received text messages from Schultz instructing her to manipulate the grave where Gerke’s body was buried; Schlesner complied.
She did not report the murder until Halloween, when her father discovered the grave and called police. Investigators found burned grass with spots of blood and part of a skull; Gerke’s body was located in a shallow grave in a nearby tree line covered in gasoline.
Days after Schultz’s apprehension, Schultz told his mother during a recorded jail call that Schlesner and her family were going to die for reporting the crime. When Schultz was interviewed by police he admitted to calling Schlesner shortly after the murder. Schultz tried unsuccessfully to place Gerke’s body into a 50-gallon burn barrel before burying it in the shallow grave.
Schlesner admitted to covering the burial site with sticks, grass and dirt. She told investigators that she was (quote) “very scared” of Schultz after seeing the body and believed he would do the same to her if she said anything. Schlesner also said that she helped (quote) “hide the body that [Schultz] killed.”
District Attorney Kurt Klomberg issued a statement following Schlesner’s conviction:
“Nigel Schultz is quite possibly the single most malevolent and frightening individual I have encountered in my career. He committed this murder and conducted himself afterward in a casual fashion as if this was just a regular day in his life. I believe that Schlesner was terrified for her safety and for the safety of her family. She was also willing to assist the State at the trial against Schultz. Nevertheless, after Schultz left the property, Schlesner had a duty to summon authorities, and did not. For that she has to be held accountable.”