Judge sets Jan. 27 start for Keadle’s trial in 2010 Peru State slaying

Judge sets Jan. 27 start for Keadle’s trial in 2010 Peru State slaying
Joshua Keadle, right, and defense attorney Jeff Pickens at an October 2017 court appearance in Auburn. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEATRICE – A judge has set a new trial date for known sex offender and suspected murderer, Joshua Keadle.

The judge scheduled the trial of 38-year-old Joshua Keadle to begin January 27, 2020. Keadle’s attorney requested more time to prepare for the trial, which was originally slated to begin on September 16th this year. Last Friday, the trial judge eliminated that trial date, setting the new date on Monday this week.

Keadle has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder in the 2010 disappearance and presumed death of 19-year-old Tyler “Ty” Thomas, a student at Peru State College. Thomas disappeared on December 3, 2010, after leaving a party near the southeast Nebraska campus. The state issued a death certificate for Thomas in 2013, though her body has never been found.

This delay of trial is only the latest defense-created delay in the trial against Keadle. In July, his defense attorney requested a change of venue, alleging that an impartial jury could not be selected from Nemaha County due to extensive media coverage of the disappearance and presumed murder of Tyler “Ty” Thomas over the last nine years.

In his ruling on the change of venue motion, Judge Rick Schreiner said pretrial publicity, alone was not enough justification for a change of venue. However, the judge did grant the change of venue request and ordered the trial moved to Gage County district court in Beatrice. The judge justified the decision by stating that the Gage County courthouse is better equipped, safer for transporting  the prisoner, has a separate meeting area for the defense and better facilities for the witnesses, media and the family of the victim.

Joshua Keadle is currently serving a 15- to 20-year prison sentence for the 2008 rape of a 15-year-old girl in Fremont. He was tried for that crime and sentenced in 2012, two years after he allegedly murdered Tyler “Ty” Thomas.