A Clinton County farmer whose high-dollar bankruptcy fraud case became intertwined in an unsolved double murder has been ordered to stay away from a former co-worker who accused the farmer of making a death threat.
Joseph “Joey” Diekemper, 69, was released from prison earlier this year after being convicted of trying to hide assets and income in a $5 million bankruptcy case.
At a court hearing involving the co-worker’s allegation, Diekemper argued that he was only joking with the co-worker.
After his release from prison, Diekemper began working at a farm in rural Breese. A co-worker at the farm, Derek Hemker, filed a petition in court seeking a no-contact order against him, claiming Diekemper had threatened to shoot him because he wasn’t able to make room in a shed quickly enough for Diekemper’s truck to be brought in during a hailstorm.
“I got up to the farm, parked the tractor, came in and (Diekemper) asked me if it was hailing and I told him I did not feel any while I was on the tractor,” Hemker told a judge during a hearing. “And he said if it is hailing and my truck gets hail damage, I will shoot you.”
Hemker filed a petition seeking an emergency no-contact order on Aug. 22, the day after the alleged threat. After a hearing on Sept. 11, Associate Judge Chris Matoush granted Hemker’s request for a two-year no-contact order against Diekemper. Matoush, in his ruling, found there was sufficient evidence to issue the order, according to a transcript of the hearing, obtained Thursday by the News-Democrat.
Diekemper told Matoush that his threat to shoot Hemker had been a joke.
Diekemper questioned Hemker during the hearing. “Did I have a wrench in my hand or a tool or a gun or anything whenever I made that statement to you, that I was really serious, I was going to shoot you or anything?” Diekemper asked.
Hemker said Diekemper did not have a weapon at the time. He told the court that Diekemper had been sitting down, waiting for Dale Kampwerth, their boss at Kampwerth Farms, to return.
Later the night of Aug. 21, hours after the alleged threat, Hemker and Diekemper sat down with Kampwerth to talk about the matter.
Kampwerth testified that Diekemper acknowledged that he had told Hemker he would shoot him. Later in their conversation, Kampwerth said, Diekemper mentioned that he had just been kidding. Kampwerth testified that Diekemper also told him he “was not going to go down without a fight.” When Kampwerth asked if Diekemper was threatening him, Diekemper said no, then repeated again that he was not going to go down without a fight, according to Kampwerth’s testimony.
Diekemper, while questioning Kampwerth at the hearing, asked if the two of them had “joked many times like that?”
Kampwerth replied, “Well, I didn’t — that seemed like quite an awful strong one there.”
And Hemker, who had a previous altercation in college where someone threatened him, seemed to see it the same way.
“It don’t set right with me,” Hemker told the court.
It wasn’t immediately clear Friday whether Hemker made a report to police about the alleged threat. Clinton County court records indicate that no criminal charges have been filed against Diekemper regarding the matter.
During Diekemper’s bankruptcy fraud case, FBI agents made contact with the owner of a storage building where Diekemper hid an expensive tractor behind a false wall, and asked him to come in for an interview. The owner, George Weedon, was nervous, but agreed to come in. He told an agent he was scared Diekemper would burn his house down if he found out.
Two days later, a fire broke out at Weedon’s home. Weedon and his wife, Linda, were both found dead — George Weedon in his car and Linda in the rubble of the house, both with gunshot wounds. No one has been charged in connection with their deaths, and Diekemper’s attorneys have insisted repeatedly that he had nothing to do with the Weedons’ deaths.