Bail set at $5 million for man charged in Dodge County homicide
JUNEAU — A $5 million cash bond was set Wednesday for a 20-year-old man accused of shooting a Beaver Dam man 16 times in late October before burying him in an unmarked, shallow grave at a town of Lebanon property.
Nigel Schultz stands accused of first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Bradlee Gerke, 32. Schultz is also charged with hiding a corpse, theft from person or corpse, and two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon.
Rebecca Wolc, a 32-year-old Beaver Dam woman, has been charged as an accomplice in the case.
According to criminal complaints, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office received a call at 6:15 p.m. Oct. 31, alerting them that there was a body at N901 Redwing Road northwest of Ashippun in Dodge County. Gerke’s body was recovered that night.
Schultz made his initial appearance in Dodge County Circuit Court via video from the Dodge County Jail, where he is currently in custody, before Court Commissioner Steven Seim. He could face life in prison if convicted of the homicide charge.
Schultz, who did not have an attorney with him, spoke to those in the courtroom.
“So I’m not proud of what I did,” he said. “Nor would anyone be in their right mind. There is a misunderstanding why I did it … I do apologize. I’m not saying I’m guilty or not, but I do apologize to his family members.”
Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg asked for the $5 million cash bail for Schultz.
“This is a type of premeditated violence I have never witnessed in my experience as a prosecutor,” Klomberg said.
Wolc also made her initial appearance. She is charged with harboring or aiding a felon; if convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Wolc appeared via video from Dodge County Jail, and was placed on a $1,000 signature bond. She may not have any direct or indirect contact or communication with Gerke’s family or residence or Schultz. She may not leave the state.
Schultz convinced Gerke to go to the location where he was shot and attempted to shoot him in the back of the head, Klomberg said. The gun originally misfired before he shot Gerke again in the back of the head, Klomberg said, so he then picked up another gun and shot him 15 more times in the head and chest after he was dead. Klomberg said that Schultz then tried to burn the body, but was unable to do so and stole items from the body before burying him on the property.
Schultz has a long criminal history, with felony convictions for violent offenses dating to when he was 17 years old. He was taken into custody on a Wood County warrant, where he was charged earlier this month with burglary, taking a vehicle without consent and receiving stolen property. 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 has been in custody since Nov. 1.
The location of the body was reported by two people who own the property where Gerke’s body was found, according to the criminal complaint. Both 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 Wolc.
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 gun 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 was located in Wolc’s 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 himself.
Wolc and Schultz were in a relationship, and she had taken Schultz to the home where the body was found in the past, according to the criminal complaint.
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.
Schultz said he told Gerke that he was going to give him a gun and brought him to the town of Lebanon residence to shoot the guns. However, according to the criminal complaint, he intended to shoot Gerke all along.
After shooting Gerke, Schultz tried to stuff the body into a burn barrel, but couldn’t fit it in, according to the criminal complaint, so he burned Gerke’s shoes in the barrel. Gerke’s body was buried in a shallow grave on the property.
Both Schultz and Wolc will return to court on Dec. 6 for their preliminary hearings.
Editor’s Note: this story was updated to correct where Schultz is in custody.