Nelson pleads guilty to drug charge

A Marshalltown man who sold methamphetamine to an undercover officer in the Walmart parking lot has pleaded guilty and is back in custody.

Max E. Nelson Jr., 56, was charged in May 2012 with two counts of delivering meth and ongoing criminal conduct. Nelson admitted in court Monday he sold more than 5 grams of meth to an undercover narcotics officer.

Nelson had previously pleaded not guilty.

As part of a plea agreement, Assistant County Attorney Jim Scheetz said the state will drop two charges and recommend a reduced sentence.

Nelson pleaded guilty to one count of delivering meth, a Class B felony, which carries a maximum prison term of 25 years. The state will recommend he serves one third of that sentence before parole is allowed.

“He accepted responsibility by entering a guilty plea and agreed to assist in prosecution of other people we helped investigate prior to October of 2012,” Scheetz said.

In a separate case, Nelson was charged in October with accessory after the fact, abuse of a corpse and first-degree theft in the murder of a Garwin man, David Warnell.

Warnell was allegedly shot in the head by Jeremy A. Gartin, of Marshalltown, after a drug deal dispute. Nelson is accused of mutilating Warnell’s body post-mortem, in an effort to dispose of the body. Nelson has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

He is being held at the Marshall County Jail. Sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 13.