Missouri to seek death penalty against Caldwell County farmer in Wisconsin brothers’ deaths


FILE – In this undated booking photo provided by the Caldwell County Detention Center in Missouri shows Garland “Joey” Nelson. A Kansas dairy farmer say he and a man charged in the case of two missing Wisconsin brothers had a business deal that involved cattle owned by the brothers. David Foster says he bought 131 calves from Gaylord Nelson in November. Nelson is charged with tampering with a rental truck that Nick and Justin Diemel used before they disappeared while visiting northwest Missouri in July. Authorities say the brothers are presumed dead. (Caldwell County Detention Center via AP File)

KINGSTON, Mo. — The state of Missouri plans to seek the death penalty against a man charged with killing two brothers from Wisconsin, according to the man’s new attorney.

Garland Nelson is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and several other counts in the deaths of Nicholas and Justin Diemel, of Shawano County, Wisconsin.

Nelson pleaded not guilty to the charges during an arraignment Monday, according to online court records.

Patrick Berrigan, a public defender who handles only death penalty cases, told the St. Joseph News-Press on Wednesday that the state would seek the death penalty.

A new judge, Circuit Court Judge Kevin Walden, was assigned to the case after Monday’s hearing.

Nelson’s previous attorney had sought a new judge and a change of venue for the trial. It was not clear Wednesday if the change of venue was granted.

The brothers’ father reported them missing July 21 after they didn’t return from a visit to Nelson’s northwest Missouri home, where they had gone to collect a $250,000 debt, according to court records.

According to a probable cause statement, Nelson shot the brothers, put their bodies in 55-gallon barrels and allegedly burned the bodies.

Nelson told investigators he dumped the remains on a manure pile and hid the barrels on his property, about 70 miles northeast of Kansas City, Missouri.

The remains were eventually found in Missouri and Nebraska.

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