DEER LODGE, Mont. — A handyman and probationer has pleaded guilty to killing a Deer Lodge man and his mother during a confrontation over the theft of 1,700 ounces of silver in a plea agreement that recommends he be sentenced to life in prison.
David Wayne Nelson, 53, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of deliberate homicide for the October 2015 deaths of Greg Giannonatti, 57, and Beverly Giannonatti, 79, Powell County Attorney Lewis Smith said.
Prosecutors agreed to dismiss a charge of theft and two counts of obstructing justice and the state agreed not to recommend any parole restrictions.
District Judge Ray Dayton ordered a pre-sentence investigation and returned Nelson to the Powell County jail, Lewis said. A sentencing date has not been set.
The Giannonattis were reported missing in late October 2015, beginning a monthlong investigation that ended when Nelson confessed to stealing the silver from Greg Giannonatti, traveling to Missoula and selling it for $26,000 and killing the Giannonattis on Oct. 24 or 25 during a confrontation over the theft.
Nelson said he put their bodies in the back of the mother’s pickup, covered them with a tarp and disposed of them northwest of town. He told investigators he cleaned up the house, dumped other evidence in another location and drove Beverly’s pickup back to her house.
After confessing, Nelson led investigators to the bodies.
Autopsies determined Greg Giannonatti was hit in the head with a hammer about a dozen times while Beverly Giannonatti was strangled and suffered a spinal fracture.
Officers recovered most of the money Nelson received from the sale of the silver.