Joshua Keadle pleads not guilty to murder in disappearance of Peru State student

Joshua Keadle pleads not guilty to murder in disappearance of Peru State student
Joshua Keadle, right, and defense attorney Jeff Pickens during a court appearance in Auburn in October 2017. (The Associated Press)

AUBURN, Neb. (AP) — A 36-year-old man charged with first-degree murder in the case of a missing Peru State College student has pleaded not guilty.

Joshua Keadle entered the written plea Thursday in Nemaha County District Court. He’s charged in the disappearance and presumed death of 19-year-old Tyler “Ty” Thomas.

Keadle’s arraignment had been set for July 2, but his written plea waives that appearance. A trial date hasn’t been set yet.

Thomas disappeared Dec. 3, 2010, after leaving a party near the Peru State campus. Authorities said Keadle, a fellow student, told them that he and Thomas had sex in his vehicle that night, and Thomas threatened to report that he raped her.

The state issued a death certificate for Thomas in 2013, though her body has never been found.

Keadle already is serving a prison sentence for the 2008 rape of a 15-year-old girl.

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