OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – Joshua Keadle appealed his 2020 second degree murder conviction to the Nebraska State Supreme Court on Tuesday.
“There was no evidence of blood, no forensic evidence anywhere.”
Keadle was convicted of killing Tyler Thomas, an Omaha native and student from the state of Peru in December 2010.
Keadle’s attorney, Jeff Pickens, argued the appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court on Tuesday, saying there was not enough evidence to establish what is called the “corpus delicti” beyond any reasonable doubt.
Corpus Delicti aims to protect those who make false confessions, requiring the state to have corroborating evidence when it uses an accused’s statements.
“But you can look at the evidence and determine that it was not sufficient to establish a corpus delicti beyond a reasonable doubt,” Pickens said.
In the Keadle case, the state said that in December 2010, Keadle drove Tyler Thomas to the Missouri River in Peru, committed a sexual act with her, and then refused to take her to Omaha.
“Tyler threatened to charge Keadle with rape, which in turn motivated Keadle to kill Tyler,” said Melissa Vincent of the Nebraska attorney general’s office.
The state got some of this information from Keadle himself, his story changing as more and more facts came out.
Keadle’s attorney said he never confessed to the murder in any way.
âHe certainly made a confession, but I don’t think there is anything that comes close to a confession. He actually said, “I didn’t hurt her, I left her by the river, she wasn’t hurt, I didn’t do anything to her,” Pickens said.
Vincent says the state had GPS evidence, testimony including a former detainee, and other circumstantial evidence to show Keadle murdered Thomas.
“The evidence showed that Keadle desperately tried to establish an alibi and repeatedly lied to law enforcement and others about being with Tyler, or even seeing her on the morning of. his disappearance, showing a consciousness of guilt, “said Vincent.
Pickens said Thomas had alcohol and relationship issues and there was every reason to believe Keadle had nothing to do with Thomas’ death or even whether she died.
“He said I would 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 time his friends or family or Mr. Keadle saw her.” , said Pickens.
Keadle was eligible for parole in 2051.
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