BEATRICE, Neb. -- A Nebraska District Judge has granted a change in venue for the murder trial involving Joshua Keadle.
Judge Rick Schreiner ordered the trial be moved from Nemaha County District Court in Auburn, to Gage County District Court, in Beatrice.
Keadle is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Tyler Thomas, a student at Peru State College whose body has never been found. The case against Keadle alleges that on or about December 3rd, 2010, he killed the 19-year-old student.
Keadle is serving a 15-to-20-year prison sentence for 1st degree sexual assault, in a Dodge County conviction. He received that sentence in February of 2012. He is serving the sentence at the Tecumseh State Prison.
In his ruling on the change of venue motion, Judge Schreiner said pre-trial publicity, by itself, was not a justification for moving the trial from Nemaha County District Court in Auburn.
But the judge noted that the Gage County District Court has greater capacity in its court facilities, and that the Gage County Courthouse has more access capability, for transferring the defendant and attorneys through areas that do not mingle with public access. That includes restroom access and area where the defendant and his lawyers can meet. The ruling also acknowledges that the public, family members of both the defendant and victim, as well as law enforcement could present a problem with congestion in the area just outside the courtroom if the trial were held in Nemaha County.
Keadle’s trial is scheduled to begin September 16th, with three weeks reserved for the trial. The State of Nebraska has endorsed 119 witnesses.