LINCOLN, Neb. Joshua Keadle is already serving a 15 to 20 year sentence for a sexual assault case in 2012.
Thursday he became a convicted murderer who could be sentenced to another 20 to life in prison.
The sentence is a long time coming for Tyler Thomas’s family and those who worked on the case before.
Vince Powers served as the Thomas family’s attorney for the wrongful death lawsuit against Joshua Keadle which ruled in their favor to a $2.64 billion dollar verdict.
Powers says he never had a doubt Keadle was guilty of murder.
In Gage County District Court Tyler Thomas’s family couldn’t hold back their emotions even before the verdict was read.
Thomas disappeared in December 2010.
The last person she was with was Joshua Keadle at a Missouri River boat ramp. Her body was never found.
“When you’re innocent you don’t ask for an alibi, you don’t tell different stories,” said Powers. “When an investigator would point something out he would quickly change his story.”
Powers represented the family in a civil case against Keadle back in 2016 which is when he says he found more than enough evidence to find Keadle guilty of murder.
“I recall one statement when he said that if they ever find the body she’s gonna have bruises on her wrists because she’d been fighting with me,” said Powers. “It was pretty clear he expected they’d find the body and there would be bruises on her wrists.”
Powers commended the way investigators and the state handled the case, saying even though they never found Thomas’s body that they presented a strong enough case to get the conviction.
“The worst part is he was 29 living in the dorm with 19-year-olds,” said Powers. “I mean second degree carries life in prison, he has a prior rape conviction, he’s not going anywhere.”
Ultimately Powers says today is about Tyler. That her family has worked tirelessly to make sure her memory would never be forgotten.
“They have wanted justice for a long time and they got it tonight,” said Powers. “It certainly doesn’t bring back their daughter but at least they know the murderer will be in prison.”
Keadle is set to be sentenced on April 29th at 1:30 p.m. back in Gage County where he faces anywhere from 20 years to life in prison.