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Man convicted of fraud related to murder of two Shawano County brothers

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A Missouri man pleaded guilty Tuesday to a cattle fraud scheme that he tried to cover up by killing two Wisconsin brothers.

The U.S. attorneys office said 28-year-old Garland Nelson, of Braymer, must forfeit more than $215,000 after admitting to mail fraud and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He entered the plea just days after pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of 24-year-old Justin Diemel and 35-year-old Nicholas Diemel, of Shawano County, Wisconsin.

The brothers’ father reported them missing July 21, 2019, after they didn’t return from a visit to Nelson’s farm, where they had gone to collect a $250,000 debt. Nelson was supposed to be caring for cattle for the brothers, according to court records.

The Diemel family sent livestock to Nelson’s farm to be cared for and sold between 2018 and 2019. The animals were neglected and many died. But Nelson charged the family full price, according to court documents.

When the Diemels asked for their money back, Nelson intentionally sent a damaged check to Nicholas Diemel, which prompted the brothers’ visit to his farm.

Prosecutors said Nelson shot the brothers and drove their pickup truck off of his farm. He told authorities he put the men’s bodies in 55-gallon barrels and burned them. 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 later found in Missouri and in a livestock trailer in Lincoln County, Nebraska, that had been purchased in Missouri.

He was sentenced to two life terms without parole for the killings. No sentencing date has been scheduled for the federal charges, but the crimes carry up to three decades behind bars, federal prosecutors said in a news release.