(Juneau) A Portage man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Tuesday in the death of a Beaver Dam man. In August, Nigel Schultz entered a no contest plea to a felony count of First Degree Intentional Homicide in the death of Bradlee Gerke. The 21-year-old is implicated along with Rebecca Wolc of Beaver Dam who entered a no contest plea to a felony count of Harboring or Aiding A Felon. She will be sentenced on January 16th.
The property owner near Ashippun called authorities on Halloween of 2018 reporting that there could be a body in his cow pasture. He told investigators that his daughter identified the suspect as Schultz, who is her ex-boyfriend.
Investigators found burned grass with spots of blood and part of a skull; Gerke’s body was found in a shallow grave in a nearby tree line covered in gasoline.
Schultz was taken into custody on a parole violation at the Lakecrest Apartments in Beaver Dam. During that arrest, Wolc made contact with police at the front door and told them that Schultz was not there. A second female eventually left the residence and she informed authorities of Schultz’s presence.
When interviewed by investigators, Schultz initially maintained that the property owner was the one who shot the victim and he only stole the victim’s phone and Food Share Card. But later, Schultz confessed to shooting Gerke in the back of the head with a 38-Derringer and a .22-rifle. Gerke was shot ten times in the back of his head and six times in the chest. Schultz stated that Gerke was going to report him to law enforcement for an apparent parole violation.
During the interview, Schultz implicated Dakota Schlesner who aided him in the attempted disposal of the body. Schlesner entered a no contest plea to a felony charge of Harboring or Aiding a Felony in October and she will be sentenced on Thursday (Jan. 9th).
Recorded phone lines also captured Schultz confessing to the murder, saying one time that this (quote) “cannot be an accident.” Prior to the 2018 homicide, Schultz amassed 10 felony convictions and multiple misdemeanors, all before his 18th birthday.
At sentencing, District Attorney Kurt Klomberg said that Schultz viewed the killing as his most significant accomplishment and bragged about it as if it was a badge of honor. Klomberg said that he was convinced that Schultz will kill again if given the opportunity. Adding that he could not find a redeeming value in this individual and that Schultz should die in prison. Gerke’s daughter Bridget, said that Schultz should spend the rest of his life in prison and that he is a dangerous, vindictive person.
Schultz’s attorneys noted that admitting to the crime shows his character and should be considered a mitigating factor. They said that they are not asking their client avoid punishment but have the ability to petition for release in 25 years. During a brief statement, Schultz said he was sorry and understands that he needs to face the consequences of his actions.
Judge Martin De Vries called the crime a twisted and deprived act.