Crime and Safety

A Missouri man pleaded guilty Tuesday to a cattle fraud scheme that he tried to cover up by killing two Wisconsin brothers

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Tuesday, a Missouri man pleaded guilty to a cattle fraud scam he attempted to conceal by murdering two Wisconsin brothers.

After pleading to mail fraud and being a felon in possession of a handgun, the U.S. attorney’s office said Garland Nelson, 28, of Braymer, must surrender more than $215,000 in assets.

He made the plea just days after pleading guilty to two charges of first-degree murder in the murders of Shawano County, Wisconsin residents Justin Diemel, 24, and Nicholas Diemel, 35.

On July 21, 2019, their father reported them missing when they failed to return from Nelson’s property, where they had gone to collect a $250,000 debt. According to court documents, Nelson was expected to tend to the brothers’ livestock.

Between 2018 and 2019, the Diemel family shipped livestock to Nelson’s property to be cared for and sold. Many animals perished due to negligence. However, Nelson charged the family the full amount, as evidenced by court filings.

When the Diemels requested their money back, Nelson sent Nicholas Diemel an intentionally damaged check, prompting the brothers to visit his farm.

According to the prosecution, Nelson shot the brothers and then drove their pickup truck off his farm. He told officials that he placed the remains of the males in 55-gallon drums and burnt them. About 70 miles (110 kilometers) northeast of Kansas City, Missouri, Nelson claimed detectives he put the remains on a manure pile and hid the barrels on his property.

Later, the bones were discovered in Missouri and in a Missouri-purchased cattle trailer in Lincoln County, Nebraska.

For the murders, he received two life sentences without the possibility of parole. No sentencing date has been set for the federal accusations, but the crimes carry up to 30 years in prison, according to a news release from federal prosecutors.

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