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Martin Chris Nelson

Iron County prosecutors said they intend to file murder charges this week against a convicted sex offender suspected in the deaths of two southern Utah men.

"I just received the case from the sheriff's office," Iron County Attorney Scott Garrett told the Deseret Morning News Monday. "All the reports and everything. I'm going to screen it and we should have a charging decision right away."

Martin Chris Nelson, 43, appeared in Cedar City's 5th District Court Monday for a status conference on unrelated charges. He is currently charged with failure to register as a sex offender, drug possession and possession of a dangerous weapon.

During the brief hearing, Garrett said a jury trial scheduled for Feb. 28 was delayed at the request of Nelson's defense attorney.

Nelson is the prime suspect in the slayings of Derek Davis and Chad Grijalva. The two Washington County men disappeared Oct. 24 after telling family members they planned to run an errand in the Cedar City area.

Iron County sheriff's deputies believe Davis and Grijalva went to Nelson's home in Beryl to collect on a debt and, after exchanging words, he shot them both. Their bodies were found buried underneath a shed when deputies went to question Nelson about failing to register as a sex offender and discovered the truck the men were last seen driving.

Iron County's case has been delayed because much of the evidence was sent to the state crime lab to be analyzed, deputies said.

Garrett said charges are imminent.

"We're going to file charges," he said, declining to say what level of homicide charge would be filed.

"That, we've got to determine."

E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com