ST. CHARLES, MO (KPLR) – The St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged a 25-year-old St. Charles man for allegedly killing and burning the body of a 59-year-old after the two got into a physical altercation over ATV ruts.
According to court documents, the incident happened February 4 between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the victim’s home, located in the 4100 block of N. Highway 94.
The suspect, identified as Nicholas Preli, arrived at the residence and was confronted by the victim, who allegedly called Preli a “stupid son of a bitch” for driving his ATV and leaving ruts in the 59-year-old’s driveway.
The two men got into an argument which became physical. Preli told investigations the victim, identified as Paul Fisher, had a hammer in his hand but dropped it during the physical altercation. Fisher turned around to pick up the hammer or grab a nearby screwdriver when Preli shot him two or three times with his Glock pistol.
Preli walked over to Fisher and emptied the clip in order to be humane, he said. “Like putting down an animal,” so the victim didn’t suffer, Preli told authorities.
Investigators said Preli hid the 59-year-old victim’s body between two grain hoppers and left the scene. Preli returned the following morning around 4 a.m., loaded Fisher's body into the back of his pickup truck, and took the body to a nearby burn pit to dispose of the remains.
Police located the remains and were able to identify Fisher through dental records.
Prosecutors said Preli confessed to the crimes, which were recorded for use during trial. He also told authorities where he hid the murder weapon, which was located a short time later.
Preli was charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action, and tampering with physical evidence. He remains jailed on $500,000 cash-only bond.