Jury finds man guilty in death of Nebraska college student

Jury finds man guilty in death of Nebraska college student

  • Updated
Jury finds man guilty in death of Nebraska college student

FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2011, file photo, Joshua Keadle, right, talks with his attorney Allen Fankhauser at his arraignment at the Nemaha County Courthouse in Auburn, Neb. Attorneys delivered their closing arguments Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in Keadle's trial who is accused of killing a Nebraska college student, Tyler Thomas, 19, whose body has never been found. Thomas disappeared Dec. 3, 2010, after leaving a party near Peru State College in southeastern Nebraska.

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) — A jury on Thursday convicted a man of second-degree murder in the death of a Nebraska college student whose body has never been found.

Joshua Keadle was found guilty of killing 19-year-old Tyler Thomas, who disappeared in December 2010 after she left a party near Peru State College in southeastern Nebraska.

Prosecutors had charged Keadle with first-degree murder, which would have brought a mandatory sentence of life in prison. But jurors had the option of finding Keadle guilty of the lesser second-degree murder, which implies Thomas' killing was not premeditated. He now faces 20 years to life when he's sentenced at a later date.

Prosecutors argued during the trial that Keadle, who was a Peru State classmate of Thomas', told authorities he and Thomas had sex in his vehicle the night she disappeared. Keadle later told investigators he and Thomas argued and that Thomas threatened to report he had raped her.

Keadle has maintained he left Thomas alive at a Missouri River boat ramp near campus.

However, prosecutors said Keadle initially denied having any contact with Thomas ahead of her disappearance before eventually leading investigators to the boat ramp. Prosecutors also presented witnesses who testified that Keadle asked them to say he’d been with them the night of Thomas' disappearance, and a jailhouse informant testified that Keadle told him he killed Thomas but "they’ll never find the body."

Keadle's defense attorney, Matt McDonald, argued the informant's use of methamphetamine could have altered his recollection. McDonald also told jurors in his closing statements that "you can’t convict him for being a jerk.”

Keadle is already serving 15 to 20 years for the 2008 rape of a 15-year-old Fremont girl.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News