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Missouri man pleads guilty to killing brothers over cattle debt


According to several news reports, Missouri man Garland Nelson pleaded guilty on Friday to the 2019 murder of two brothers over an attempt to collect a debt about cattle. Nelson will now serve two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. 

During the trial, Nelson admitted to shooting Nicholas Diemel and Justin Diemel, placing Justin Diemel’s remains in a bucket and Nick Diemel’s remains in a manure pile. 

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

Nelson was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas last July. Nelson, then an employee of J4S Farm Enterprises Inc., agreed to care for cattle owned by Diemel’s Livestock LLC, a company owned by the Diemel brothers.

After Nelson agreed to feed, pasture, and sell cattle, then send profits after expenses back to the brothers, he allegedly sold, traded, and killed many cattle without remitting payment. Nelson continued to bill the Diemel brothers for feed and yardage for the cattle he was no longer housing. 

In June 2019, Nelson fraudulently sent the Diemels a check for $215,936 while the account balance was at $0.21 cents. In July, the Diemels drove their rental truck to Nelson’s mother’s farm in Braymer where Nelson killed them and attempted to dispose of their bodies. 

According to a statement by Lisa Diemel, the widow of Nicholas Diemel, Garland used her husband’s finger to unlock his phone and text her to say that he was OK when the men didn’t return from a visit to Nelson’s farm. 

The brother’s father reported them missing on July 21, 2019. Four months later, the remains of Justin Diemel were found in a livestock trailer in Lincoln County, Nebraska. The remains of Nicholas Diemel were recovered on a farm in rural Caldwell County, Missouri.

Caldwell County Sheriff Mitch Allen told Fox4 News Kansas City, “An evil man was taken out of society and put behind bars. He will never walk the streets again, and that was what we were hoping for.” 

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

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