Courthouse Security Stepped Up For Trial In 2010 Murder

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) – The trial of a man charged with killing a Peru State College student who disappeared more than 9 years ago is set to begin a week from Monday and Gage County authorities are boosting security at the Courthouse in Beatrice.

38-year old Joshua Keadle has pleaded Not Guilty to 1st-degree Murder in the death of 19-year-old Tyler “Ty” Thomas, who disappeared Dec. 3, 2010. Her body has never been found.

Gage County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Douglas Klaus told The Associated Press there’s no particular expectation of any trouble brewing, but that there will be more people than usual in the courthouse and therefore more security measures will be necessary.

The heightened security includes a screening station on the first floor similar to those at airports with everyone screened, including sheriff’s office staffers. Visitors will be limited to just one of the 3 first-floor entrances to the building – the one with the screening station.

Keadle’s trial was originally scheduled for last year in Nemaha County, but was moved to Gage County and Beatrice because of pretrial publicity and because the facilities at the Nemaha County Courhouse in Auburn were inadequate for the lengthy high-profile trial.

A separate building would have been needed for jury selection and county court cases would have been delayed for the 3 weeks of the trial because a single courtroom serves both district and county court in Nemaha County.

Ty Thomas was reported missing in the early morning hours of December 3, 2010 when she failed to return to her dorm after a party.

Keadle was also a Peru State student at the time and eventually told investigators that he and Thomas had consensual sex in his vehicle that night. He also said he didn’t come forward right away because Thomas threatened to report that he had raped her.

Repeated searches over the next 2 years failed to find a body and the state eventually issued a death certificate for Thomas in 2013, even though her body has never been found.

Keadle is already in prison, serving a 15-to-20 year sentence after being convicted in 2012 of the 2008 rape of a 15-year-old girl.

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