Supreme Court assigns new judge in Diemel brothers case; prosecutor to seek death penalty

Garland Joseph Joey Nelson

The Missouri Supreme Court has assigned a new judge to hear the court cases involving Garland Joseph Nelson of Braymer who faces ten felony counts from last July – among them the deaths of two Wisconsin brothers.

Kevin Walden, the presiding judge of the 8th Circuit Court which is in Carroll and Ray Counties, was assigned to the cases. A defense attorney had previously filed a motion to request a new judge and to move the cases out of Caldwell County. It wasn’t clear IF the change of venue was approved and if so, which county the cases will move too.

The Associated Press is quoting an attorney for Nelson, Patrick Barrigan of Kansas City, in that the state of Missouri expects to seek the death penalty for Nelson who pleaded not guilty on Monday during an arraignment held in Caldwell County Circuit Court. Barrigan, a public defender, is described as an attorney who handles death penalty cases.

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. The brothers’ father reported them missing July 21 after they didn’t return from a visit to Nelson’s farm near Braymer. The brothers had gone there to collect a $250,000 debt.

According to a probable cause statement, authorities accuse Nelson of shooting the brothers, putting their bodies in 55-gallon barrels, and allegedly burning the bodies.

Nelson has told investigators he dumped the remains on a manure pile and hid the barrels on his property. The Caldwell County sheriff’s department has reported the remains were eventually found in Missouri and Nebraska.