Missouri to seek death penalty in Wisconsin brothers’ deaths

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

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 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.

Nicholas Diemel, Justin Diemel

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 (110 kilometers) northeast of Kansas City, Missouri.

The remains were eventually found in Missouri and Nebraska.

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