Wrongful Death Lawsuit Builds On Criminal Case Of Man Accused Of Murdering Two Wisconsin Brothers

Garland Nelson had been on parole after he was convicted or selling mortgaged cows — a typical embezzlement scheme in which one rakes in the profits without ever paying anything back — but violated it on two counts: He went into business with a pair of Wisconsin brothers and he also purchased a firearm. Now, he stands accused of murder. The family of the brothers is suing Nelson for their wrongful deaths.

According to Nelson’s most recent conviction, he failed to disclose his previous crimes to the brothers before offering to go into business with them. The lawsuit targets both Garland and his mother, Tomme Sue Feil, for failing to make this disclosure.

Court records say, “Due to their knowledge of Nelson’s dangerous propensities, prior fraudulent cattle transactions, and his possession of a firearm, Defendants J4s and Feil knew or should have known that allowing Nelson to return to the cattle business created an unreasonable risk of harm to others.”

In the course of investigating the brothers’ disappearance, authorities realized that Nelson owed them a massive $250,000 — which they had gone to collect. Investigators believe that Nelson shot both of them, and then burned their bodies inside metal trash-burning barrels. He was subsequently charged with 1st degree murder and additional crimes related to his broken parole. 

The criminal case against Nelson will not proceed until January. He had spent 17 months in prison for his previous crimes.

Like most wrongful death lawsuits, the family seeks losses based on funeral expenses, loss of income, and emotional trauma. 

Nelson had been using an embezzlement scheme to siphon money much like a man involved in a similar case in Oklahoma, where Marty Robert Maahs, 33, was recently arrested for stealing over $1 million from the bank that had loaned him money for cattle farming. Frazer Bank contacted authorities when they suspected wrongdoing, after which Special Ranger Scott Williamson with the Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) got involved. 

Williamson soon discovered that Maahs had been routinely selling the cattle without repaying any of the loan. He was charged with a number of felonies; embezzlement of a sum over $25,000 chief among them. If convicted, he will spend up to 23 years in a federal prison. He could also be penalized with around $15,000. Frazer Bank asked for and was granted restitution for $1 million (which is often not paid in cases like these).

Maahs is currently out of jail after he was released on bond. He is awaiting trial.