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Joshua Keadle appeals murder conviction of Peru State student Ty Thomas

Posted at 6:43 PM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 19:43:22-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Joshua Keadle appealed his 2020 second-degree murder conviction in the Nebraska State Supreme Court Tuesday.

“There’s no been blood evidence, forensic evidence anywhere.”

Keadle was convicted of killing Tyler Thomas, an Omaha native and Peru State student in December of 2010.

Keadle’s attorney, Jeff Pickens argued the appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court Tuesday, saying there is insufficient evidence to establish what’s called ‘corpus delicti' beyond a reasonable doubt.

Corpus Delicti is meant to protect people who make false confessions, forcing the state to have corroborating evidence when using statements from a defendant.

“But you can look at the evidence and determine it was not sufficient to establish corpus delicti beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Pickens.

In the Keadle case, the state says in December of 2010 Keadle drove Tyler Thomas to the Missouri River in Peru, performed a sex act with her and then refused to take her to Omaha.

“Tyler threatened to accuse Keadle of rape, which in turn provided motive for Keadle to kill Tyler,” said Melissa Vincent with the Nebraska Attorney General’s office.

The state got some of this information from Keadle himself with his story changing as more facts came out.

Keadle’s attorney said he never confessed to the murder in any way.

“He made admissions certainly, but I don’t think there’s anything that comes close to a confession. In fact, he said ‘I didn’t hurt her, I left her at the river, she was unharmed, I didn’t do anything to her,” said Pickens.

Vincent says the state had GPS evidence, witness testimony including a former jail inmate, and other circumstantial evidence to show Keadle murdered Thomas.

“The evidence showed that Keadle desperately attempted to establish an alibi and repeatedly lied to law enforcement and others about being with Tyler, or even seeing her the morning she went missing, showing consciousness of guilt,” said Vincent.

Pickens said Thomas had alcohol and relationship problems and there’s plenty of room to believe that Keadle had nothing to do with Thomas’s death or even if she died at all.

“He said I’ll take you back to the dorm, she refused to go with him and he left her there at the river and that was the last her friends or family or Mr. Keadle saw of her,” said Pickens.

Keadle is eligible for parole in 2051.

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