ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) – Nicholas Preli, 25, has been charged after police say he shot and killed 59-year-old Paul Fisher, then burned his body to conceal the murder.
Preli plead guilty and received a 15-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter, armed criminal action and tampering.
According to court documents, Preli went to the Fishers’s house located in the 4100 block of North Highway 94 on the afternoon of February 4. While there, Preli and Fisher engaged in a verbal altercation about the use of an ATV, police say. Preli told investigators the fight turned physical and Fisher grabbed a hammer and attempted to swing at him, but was not able to strike him because Preli was restraining his arm movement.
Fisher dropped the hammer and while attempting to retrieve it, Preli said he shot Fisher in the back two or three times. When Fisher fell to the ground, Preli told investigators he “fired the remaining rounds in his pistol into the victim in order to be humane, ‘like putting down an animal’ so he didn’t suffer.”
Preli concealed the body and left the scene. He returned the following day, loaded the Fisher’s body into the bed of his pickup truck and took the body to a spot on Highway 94 across from Fisher’s farm that was often used to burn debris, investigators say. Preli doused the Fisher’s body with gasoline, set the body on fire, and fled the scene.
Detective said Preli told them where he hid in the gun. Authorities recovered the gun at the family camper in Calloway County, where Preli had stated it was.
The gun recovered by authorities matched the gun used in the crime.
According to investigators, Preli confessed to the murder and burning the remains.
Preli has been charged with second degree murder, one count of armed criminal action, and one count of tampering with physical evidence. He is being held on a $500,000 bond.
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