Martin Chris Nelson

CEDAR CITY — A man suspected of gunning down two Washington County men has pleaded not guilty to unrelated charges.

During a brief appearance in 5th District Court on Wednesday, Martin Chris Nelson waived his right to a preliminary hearing on charges of possession of a dangerous weapon, a second-degree felony; failure to register as a sex offender, and possession of a controlled substance, both third-degree felonies. He pleaded not guilty, and a judge set a February 2008 hearing date.

Nelson is a suspect in the murders of Chad Grijalva and Derek Davis, both 34. Their bodies were found shot and buried underneath a shed on the Beryl property where Nelson lived. Iron County prosecutors said they were still screening the case and had not yet filed murder charges.

Court records indicate that prosecutors served papers on Wednesday, demanding that Nelson submit fingerprint and palm print samples. His court-appointed defense attorney did not object, the court said.