- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

DEER LODGE, Mont. (AP) - A handyman who was doing work for a Deer Lodge woman confessed to authorities that he killed her and her adult son after he sold 17 silver bars that he is suspected of stealing from the son, officials said in new court filings.

David Wayne Nelson, 53, has been held in jail for weeks as a person of interest in the disappearance of Beverly Giannonatti, 79, and her son, 57-year-old Gregory Giannonatti. On Sunday, Nelson asked to speak to Powell County Sheriff Scott Howard, according to court documents filed Thursday and Friday by Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright.

Nelson said he had killed the mother and son and told the sheriff where he could find the bodies, according to a sworn statement by Nelson’s probation officer that was included in the documents.

The Giannonattis’ bodies were recovered Sunday night from a dump site on private land west of Deer Lodge, Howard said.

The court documents include a receipt that shows Nelson sold 17 100-ounce silver bars for more than $26,000 to a Missoula gold and silver dealer. The probation officer, Tim Meloy, said in his statement that Nelson is suspected of stealing the silver from Greg Giannonatti.

Still missing is a 25-pound gold bar worth approximately $480,000 that a housekeeper found at the home of Beverly Giannonatti’s ex-husband outside Deer Lodge just days before her disappearance and death.

Nelson was a handyman who had done maintenance work for the company managing rental apartments for Beverly Giannonatti, and he had been doing work at her deceased ex-husband’s home at the time, Howard said. The silver was taken from the same residence just north of Deer Lodge.

The housekeeper found the gold bar on Oct. 19, Howard said. Nelson sold the silver on Oct. 23. The Giannonattis are believed to have been killed Oct. 25, Howard and Fulbright said.

Not long after the Giannonattis were reported missing, Nelson became a person of interest. Then he became a “person of high interest,” Howard said.

The sheriff said he expected Nelson to be charged with two counts of deliberate homicide next week, after the autopsy reports are completed. The gold bar was not the motive for the killing, Howard said Thursday, but he declined to elaborate.

Nelson was charged Monday with violating the travel restrictions included in the terms of his probation, and Fulbright filed the court documents containing the new information to support that charge. Nelson did not enter a plea.

Court records said Nelson completed parole and began serving his five-year suspended sentence in January for a 1998 kidnapping and robbery in Ravalli County.

Nelson does not have an attorney of record in either Powell or Ravalli county.

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