Prosecutor: Man Admits to Disposing of Bodies of Brothers | Wisconsin News | US News

Prosecutor: Man Admits to Disposing of Bodies of Brothers

A prosecutor says a Missouri man accused of killing two Wisconsin brothers told authorities he disposed of the bodies but denied killing the men.

U.S. News & World Report

Prosecutor: Man Admits to Disposing of Bodies of Brothers

The Associated Press

FILE - An undated booking photo provided by the Caldwell County, Mo., Detention Center shows Garland "Joey" Nelson. Nelson, accused of killing two brothers from Wisconsin admitted to authorities that he disposed of the bodies but denied killing the men, a prosecutor told a judge, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (Caldwell County Detention Center via AP File) The Associated Press

WARRENSBURG, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man accused of killing two brothers from Wisconsin admitted to authorities that he disposed of the bodies but denied killing the men, a prosecutor told a judge Tuesday.

Garland Nelson, of Braymer, was charged last year with two counts of abandoning a corpse and first-degree murder in the deaths of 24-year-old Justin Diemel and 35-year-old Nicholas Diemel, of Shawano County, Wisconsin. The brothers disappeared after visiting Nelson’s farm in July 2019, and their burned remains were later found in Missouri and Nebraska. Nelson has pleaded not guilty.

Nelson’s attorneys argued that a person who is charged with murder cannot also be charged with abandoning the corpse of the alleged victim without violating the suspect’s right to remain silent and against self-incrimination.

But prosecutors said Nelson could have followed Missouri law by anonymously reporting where the bodies were located, thus avoiding self-incrimination.

Circuit Court Judge Michael Wagner agreed Tuesday, and denied a defense request to dismiss the abandoning a corpse charges, the St. Joseph News-Press reported.

Patrick Berrigan, Nelson’s primary public defender, also told the judge that a trial date could not be set because the state has not yet turned over all the evidence the defense needs to review.

Special prosecutor Stephen Sokoloff responded that 7,000 pages of police reports and other evidence is available to the defense but that the contents of a computer have not yet been handed over.

Wagner also denied a defense request that Nelson be uncuffed from his waist chains and have at least one of his hands free during court proceedings. He said he would revisit a defense motion objecting to cameras in the courtroom at trial.

COVID-19 restrictions were the focus of two other motions. Nelson's attorneys asked the judge to allow them contact visits at the Caldwell County jail, although current jail policy doesn't allow the visits because of the coronavirus pandemic. Arguments on that motion will be heard Dec. 1.

Defense attorneys argued that Nelson should be allowed to appear at all hearings in person. Sokoloff said the state agrees in principle but could change its stance in response to the pandemic. Wagner ordered Nelson to appear in person for now but he reserved the right to change his ruling.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Coronavirus Bulletin

Stay informed daily on the latest news and advice on COVID-19 from the editors at U.S. News & World Report.

Best States

Best States is an interactive platform developed by U.S. News for ranking the 50 U.S. states, alongside news analysis and daily reporting. The platform is designed to engage citizens and government leaders in a discussion about what needs improvement across the country.