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Missouri man pleads guilty in 2019 deaths of Wisconsin brothers

Garland Nelson new background
Posted at 11:31 AM, Sep 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-30 14:21:04-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Garland Nelson, the man charged in the 2019 deaths of Wisconsin brothers Nicholas and Justin Diemel, has pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree murder.

Nelson made the pleadings Friday in a Cass County, Missouri, court, where the case had been moved from the original jurisdiction of Caldwell County, Missouri.

The case initially gained national attention. Court documents in one of several legal cases outlined a failed business relationship between Nelson and the brothers.

In a federal case, prosecutors allege that Nelson had sold, traded or killed some of the brothers’ cattle without passing along the proceeds. Additionally, Nelson continued to bill the brothers for caring for the cattle.

Eventually, Nelson and the brothers agreed that Nelson should pay $216,000, but a check to the brothers was tied to an account that had just $.21 cents.

The brothers traveled from Wisconsin to Missouri to attempt to retrieve payment from Nelson. It was during this trip that Nelson shot the two men and buried their bodies in a barrel.

Once burned, Nelson dumped the remains of one of the men in a large pile of cow manure on his property. The remains of the other man were located more than a year later in a mineral supplement bucket in Lincoln County, Nebraska.

During Friday’s hearing, judge Michael Wagner sentenced Nelson to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment. Nelson is not eligible for parole.

“We are glad this matter has now been resolved,” Caldwell County Prosecuting Attorney Brady Kopek said in a release. “We are now assured that the person responsible for this heinous crime will never be out of prison.”

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Annual homicide details and data for the Kansas City area are available through the KSHB 41 News Homicide Tracker, which was launched in 2015. Read the KSHB 41 News Mug Shot Policy.