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Judge denies request to drop charges in Diemel brothers case

Nick Diemel (left) and Justin Diemel (right). Photos: Lisa Diemel
Nick Diemel (left) and Justin Diemel (right). Photos: Lisa Diemel(WIBW)
Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 1:07 PM CDT
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JOHNSON COUNTY, Mo. (WBAY) - A Missouri judge has refused to drop two charges against a man accused of killing the Diemel brothers of Shawano County.

Garland Nelson appeared in front of Hon. R. Michael Wagner in Johnson County Tuesday for a motion hearing.

The judge denied Nelson’s motion to dismiss two counts of Abandonment of a Corpse. Also, the judge denied Nelson’s request to be unshackled in court and a motion to wear street clothes during pre-trial hearings.

The judge also denied a motion to allow cameras in the courtroom during pre-trial proceedings.

Nelson is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Nick Diemel and Justin Diemel. The Diemel brothers, owners of a livestock business in the Bonduel area, traveled from Wisconsin to Missouri to collect a debt from Nelson.

Reports state Missouri plans to seek the death penalty against Nelson.

Last month, the remains of Justin and Nick Diemel were returned to the family. Community members lined the streets as the family received a fire department escort.

Action 2 News' Aisha Morales sat down for an interview with mother Pam Diemel and Nick’s widow, Lisa Diemel. CLICK HERE for the full interview.

“That touch Nick had, that’s forever gone from them, Emmy was one years old, so she really has no memories of him,” said Lisa Diemel.

Pam said, “I’ve got good days and I’ve got bad days, mostly bad days.”

The Diemel family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. A judge approved a $2 million settlement for the family.

THE CRIME

On July 21, 2019, the Diemels rented a truck and traveled to a farm in Braymer, Mo. They intended to collect on a $250,000 debt from Nelson.

“Based on the investigation, it is believed Nick and Justin Diemel never left the property after they arrived and were intentionally killed. It is believed Garland Joseph Nelson acted alone or in concert with others in committing the act of murder against both Nick and Justin Diemel,” reads an affidavit filed against Nelson.

The affidavit says at 11:45 a.m. that day, Nelson drove the Diemel brothers' rental vehicle from his Braymer farm to a park-and-ride in Holt, Missouri. Nelson stated that he left the keys in the ignition and removed the Diemel brothers' cell phones and tossed them along the roadway. He arranged for someone to pick him up and take him back to the farm.

The affidavit states remains were found in a 55-gallon barrel in a pole barn on the Nelson farm. The affidavit states Nelson admitted to burning the remains, crushing the burn barrels, and cleaning up blood in a barn.

A blood stain on Nelson’s clothing was a DNA match for Nick Diemel, according to the affidavit.

Remains were also found on a trailer on a ranch in Nebraska. A rancher had recently purchased the trailer from Missouri.

A neighbor described hearing the sound of multiple gunshots coming from the direction of the Nelson farm at about 11:15-to-11:30 on the morning of July 21. That’s the time Nelson admitted that the Diemels were on the property prior to Nelson driving their rental vehicle to Holt.

A fired 30-30 caliber cartridge was found in Nelson’s clothing, and 30-30 caliber ammunition was found in Nelson’s vehicle. Nelson was in possession of a 30-30 caliber rifle.

In addition to the murder charges, Nelson has been charged with Abandonment of a Corpse, Tampering with Physical Evidence, Armed Criminal Action, Tampering with a Motor Vehicle, and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm.

In September, Nelson’s case was moved from Caldwell County, where the crime happened, to Johnson County. Johnson County is located about two hours south of Caldwell County.

Defendants often request a change of venue when they feel they cannot get a fair trial due to publicity or other reasons.

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