Clyman man sentenced in heroin overdose death of 42-year-old woman

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DODGE COUNTY — A 29-year-old Clyman man has been sentenced to seven years in prison and 13 years of extended supervision after pleading “no contest” to a felony charge for his connection with the death of a 42-year-old woman.

Gabriel Brandl

Gabriel Brandl

Gabriel Brandl was sentenced by a Dodge County judge on Friday, January 20th, for administering heroin that led to the death of Holly Nehls on May 30th, 2016.

According to a criminal complaint, officials began investigating the death of Holly Nehls on May 31st after her body was brought to Watertown Memorial Hospital. The initial report indicated the woman “had overdosed on heroin and that she was at Clyman Park when she used the heroin that killed her.”

The complaint indicates Brandl was the person who drove the woman to the hospital. Brandl told investigators “he had seen (the woman) ‘die in front of me.’” He was apparently “very worried about talking with the police and he was worried about what was going to happen.”

The complaint indicates Brandl and the woman met with a drug dealer at Clyman Park and that he was going to “front them” some heroin. After doing the drugs, the complaint indicates the woman was “out.” Brandl told police “(the woman) was snoring” and that he thought she would “snap out of it any time.”

Brandl indicated he “then drove (the woman)’s vehicle through Watertown” and noticed that she had stopped breathing. The complaint indicates “he stopped the car and he started doing CPR on (the woman).” But he later realized that the woman was dead.

Brandl apparently then went back to the drug dealer to tell him the woman was deceased — and the drug dealer told Brandl, “you gotta take her to the hospital.”

Eventually, Brandl did take the woman to the hospital — which is when investigators were called and this investigation began.

Judge Brian Pfitzinger sentenced Brandl to seven years of prison and 13 of extended supervision. District Attorney Kurt Klomberg had requested the seven years prison and a long period of extended supervision.

Nehls was one of over 22 people in Dodge County to die of a drug overdose in 2016. Nehls apparently became addicted to opiates while using them for pain management after sustaining injuries in a car crash some years ago, eventually turning to heroin.

Klomberg reflected after the sentencing that, “Young people need to know that misuse of prescription pain meds leads to opioid addiction and eventually heroin.  That is what happened here, and now Holly, a daughter, mother and grandmother, is dead.”