2 charged in 2020 fatal shooting of Millcreek woman

Posted at 1:20 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 23:19:58-04

MILLCREEK, Utah — The mystery of a woman killed outside a Millcreek home last year moved a step closer to being solved Wednesday with murder charges being filed against two people.

READ: Kearns shooting victim identified, teens in custody

James Dekota Brunson, 24, and Anika Celeste Thorpe, 23, were each charged in the death of 57-year-old Linda Diane Nemelka in March 2020. Both Brunson and Thorpe were charged with murder, aggravated robbery and possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person.

On March 11, 2020, Nemelka was found unconscious in her running car after being shot twice outside a home at 4586 South Red Sage Court. She later died of her injuries at the hospital.

Brunson Thorpe.jpg
James Dekota Brunson, 24, and Anika Celeste Thorpe, 23

At the time, witnesses said they heard a single gunshot from the area and saw an SUV speeding away from the scene with its lights off. Police also found a 9 MM casing near the vehicle.

In Feb. 2021, nearly a year after the fatal shooting, the charging documents say an informant said he "had information concerning Ms. Nemelka's death."

The man told detectives that Brunson and Thorpe were staying at his apartment on the night of the shooting and that he had given Brunson money for drugs. Later that night, Brunson contacted the informant and told him to "look up the shooting in Millcreek on the news."

READ: Wife accused of killing husband at Magna martial arts studio

According to the informant, Brunson said he and Thorpe were attempting to rob someone when "it went bad." Brunson said the two were riding around in a stolen maroon Sequoia at the time of the shooting.

Linda Nemelka

Along with the Sequoia having been reported stolen days earlier, Thorpe's mother filed a separate report to the Orem Police Department on March 10, 2020 saying that her daughter and Brunson had come to her house in the vehicle and stolen multiple firearms from her.

Two days later, on March 12, 2020, both Brunson and Thorpe were located in West Jordan in the stolen Sequoia. While Thorpe surrendered, Brunson ran from officers who saw him throwing a 9 MM pistol from his waistband during the pursuit. Police also found the stolen firearms belonging to Thorpe's mother inside the SUV.

WATCH: Sandy woman found dead; man faces aggravated murder charge

Ballistic comparisons between the pistol thrown by Brunson matched those with the 9 MM casing found where Nemelka was shot days earlier.

The charging documents say Brunson and Thorpe were on parole at the time of the shooting, and both have been in prison since their arrest in March 2020.