Missouri man gets life in prison for killing two Wisconsin brothers over cattle contract




  • In US
  • 2022-09-30 20:11:46Z
  • By Kansas City Star
 

A northwest Missouri man pleaded guilty to murdering two brothers over a cattle contract and was sentenced to two life terms behind bars Friday in Cass County.

Garland J. Nelson withdrew his not guilty plea on two counts of first-degree murder, court records show, and was sentenced to two consecutive life terms.

In exchange for his plea, charges of abandonment of a corpse, tampering with physical evidence, armed criminal action and tampering with a motor vehicle were dropped, according to the St. Joseph News-Press.

In 2020, one of Nelson's defense attorneys said the state planned to seek the death penalty if Nelson was convicted.

The case began when brothers Justin Diemel, 24, and Nick Diemel, 35, went missing July 21, 2019. The two had traveled from their home in Wisconsin to northwest Missouri. They were not heard from after they visited a farm in Braymer, about 70 miles northeast of Kansas City, in Caldwell County.

A search began after their father reported them missing, and was then labeled a death investigation.

Human remains were found on the Braymer farm nine days after the siblings went missing.

Nelson was arrested in July 2019 and charges in the murders were announced three months later by Caldwell County Sheriff Jerry Galloway.

According to charging documents, the three met July 21 "regarding a financial issue." The brothers' father told police that Nelson owed them $250,000 for cattle. The brothers went to Nelson's farm to collect the money.

A DNA analysis would later show that the remains located at the farm matched one of the missing men. Months later, remains of the other brother were discovered in a livestock trailer in Lincoln County, Nebraska, that had been purchased from a Missouri seller.

When Nelson confirmed the details of the murders on Friday, it was the first time most members of the Diemel family heard what happened. Some family members cried and Pam Diemel, the victims' mother, left the courtroom, the Associated Press reported.

"I'm sick to my stomach right now," Pam Diemel said after the hearing, according to the AP. "Life is very empty without them here."

In 2020, the victims' family reached a $2 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Nelson, his mother, Tomme Feil, and the family's cattle business, J4S Enterprises.

At the time of the brothers' deaths, Nelson was on parole after serving 17 months in federal prison for a 2016 conviction for cattle and insurance fraud. Prosecutors said he sold more than 600 head of cattle that did not belong to him, causing more than $262,000 in losses.

Nelson's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the outcome of the case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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