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

Special prosecutor Stephen Sokoloff made the argument during a hearing in which a judge denied a defense request to have two charges of abandoning a corpse dismissed in the case against Garland Nelson, of Braymer, the St. Joseph News-Press reports.

Nelson, whose case has been moved to Johnson County from Caldwell County, also was charged last year with 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 and is awaiting trial.

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 contend that Nelson could have followed Missouri law by anonymously reporting where the brothers’ bodies were located, thus avoiding concerns about self-incrimination.