DODGE COUNTY -- A Fond du Lac man was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday, Jan. 7 for the 2018 murder of a Beaver Dam man in rural Dodge County. The judge ruled Nigel Schultz, 21, will never be eligible for early release.
Schultz entered a plea of no contest to one count of first-degree intentional homicide on Aug. 16. Prosecutors said he killed his friend, Bradlee Gerke, 36, in cold blood -- as part of a pattern of escalating violent behavior.
"This is a horribly brutal crime, committed by a truly depraved individual," said Kurt Klomberg, prosecutor.
According to prosecutors, in October 2018, Schultz lured Gerke to an acquaintance's secluded farm in the Town of Lebanon under the guise they were doing to do some practice shooting. Schultz then shot Gerke 16 times.
"I ain't gonna lie, I almost threw up," Schultz said with a laugh in a phone call from jail played during his sentencing hearing.
In the call, Schultz explained to his mom that he shot Gerke to keep him quiet about other crimes he committed.
"It wasn't an accident," said Schultz. "He was going to snitch on me."
"It was a badge of honor to this man," said Klomberg.
Despite those jail call recordings, Schultz expressed remorse Tuesday.
"I'm very sorry for what I did," said Schultz. "I'm not here to make any excuses."
His attorney argued Schultz should be eligible to petition for early release after serving 25 years.
"As a society, we should not deem a person of 20 years old--regardless of their record--as irredeemable or something to be thrown away," said Katherine Findley, defense attorney.
The judge ruled it's too risky for Schultz to ever get out -- noting not only the cold-blooded details of the case but also, Schultz's 10 previous felony convictions.
"He has proven himself to be a dangerous menace to every community he has been in," said Judge Martin De Vries.
Many of Schultz's past convictions included burglaries.
Sentencing Jan. 9 for Ixonia woman
Dakota Schlesner, 21, of Ixonia pleaded no contest in October to one count of harboring/aiding Schultz. Schlesner faces up to 1.5 years in prison followed by up to two years of extended supervision. A sentencing hearing was set for Jan. 9, 2020.
Prosecutors said in October 2018, Schultz contacted Schlesner and instructed her to come to her parent’s residence, not providing any more detail Upon arrival at the house in rural Ashippun, Schultz allegedly showed Schlesner Gerke's body -- admitting that he killed Gerke. Then, Schultz told Schlesner, “Now you know what I can do, so don’t tell anybody.”
According to Dodge County officials, Schultz then allegedly had Schlesner help move and bury Gerke. She told deputies she aided Schultz because she feared if she did not, Schultz would do the same to her.
Days later, Schlesner received text messages from Schultz instructing her to manipulate the grave where Gerke’s body was buried and Schlesner complied. Schlesner did not report the murder to authorities until her father discovered the grave and called police. 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.
Sentencing Jan. 16 for Mayville woman
Rebecca Wolc, 33, of Mayville pleaded no contest in September to one count of harboring/aiding Schultz. A sentencing hearing was set for Jan. 16.
On Oct. 31, 2018, officers arrived at Wolc’s apartment on Lakecrest Drive in Beaver Dam, attempting to locate Schultz, who had been seen driving Wolc’s vehicle, prosecutors said.
Wolc answered the door and informed the officers that Schultz was not at the apartment, but another occupant leaving the residence a short time later confirmed he was.
Officers later learned Wolc was present at the residence in rural Ashippun when Schultz shot Gerke and witnessed the aftermath of the brutal murder, prosecutors said.
On the way back to Wolc’s apartment, Schultz told Wolc that if anyone asked about Gerke, she was to say he went to La Crosse.
Wolc assisted Schultz in hiding the truth from others until ultimately confronted by police. She then agreed to be a cooperative witness against Schultz.