A jury will decide if Josh Keadle is guilty or not guilty of killing Tyler Thomas in 2010. The Peru State College student from Omaha went missing after a night of partying.
Both sides agree Tyler Thomas is dead but the defense says Keadle’s not responsible for her death.
In closing arguments, prosecutors focused on how Keadle’s statements changed and how he tried to cover up what happened, calling it a case of deception to drive people away from the truth as long as he could.
“Whatever happened at the river, Tyler Thomas was not complicit. She was not cooperative... it didn’t turn out the way Mr. Keadle hoped it would and he had to silence her,” said Nebraska Assistant Attorney General Doug Warner. “He could not let her come back to town, he could not let her friends come pick her up, he could not call anyone to help her, he could do nothing but kill her and get rid of her.”
The defense pointed at the timeline of events. They said the investigation was shoddy and the evidence doesn’t prove Keadle killed Thomas.
“This timeline shows Josh Keadle couldn’t have done it,” said Defense Attorney Matt McDonald. “He could not have killed her, cleaned up, did all the things the state wants you to believe in that short period of time. Maybe that’s why no law enforcement wants to tell you what the timeline is.”
They also argued Thomas could’ve died of hypothermia or she committed suicide because of drinking and issues with her boyfriend.
Prosecutors say they don’t have to know all the details of what happened to Thomas but know that she was a fighter and said she would’ve made her way back from the Missouri River if she had a choice. They believe Keadle took that choice away by murdering Thomas and throwing her body in the river.
The jury will deliberate until 7 p.m.Thursday. If they do not reach a unanimous verdict, they will come back on Thursday morning. The jury has the option to find Keadle guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter or innocent.
We will update this story right away when a verdict is reached.
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