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Murder suspect to return for trial

Keel mugshot.jpg.jpg

Lynn Keel

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BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Staff Writer

Friday, March 22, 2019

A 57-year-old man is going to be brought back from Arizona to Nash County to face a charge of first-degree murder of his wife.

Lynn Keel, appearing at a hearing on Thursday afternoon before Pima County, Ariz., Superior Court Judge Lee Ann Roads, waived his right to challenge extradition. Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone, who was at the hearing, afterward said Keel is going to be transferred today.

Keel remains the lone suspect in the death of Diana Keel, 38. A warrant for Lynn Keel’s arrest was issued on March 15 and he was apprehended on Sunday just outside the city limits of Tucson.

Stone said the extradition hearing took approximately five minutes, with the judge going over with Keel what his rights were and what the process would be if he didn’t waive his rights.

“And he waived ‘em,” Stone said, calling the hearing “a very efficient proceeding.”

Stone said a public defender was with Keel at the hearing and said Keel didn’t make any comments or statements.

Stone said Keel’s demeanor in the courtroom was the same as it has always been, “very calm, easygoing.”

Stone said authorities in Pima County will bring Keel to the airport there for him and his team to take back to North Carolina.

Stone said Keel should be back in Nash County by approximately 4-5 p.m. today and is going to face a first appearance on Tuesday in District Court in Nashville.

Keel was alone and driving his parents’ pickup truck in the Grand Canyon State when Nash County Communications received a tip about him being sighted on Interstate 10.

During a traffic stop by an Arizona state trooper, Keel was found to have a large amount of cash on him, along with bank receipts and a pocket knife.

Diana Keel was an emergency room nurse in Wilson and a mother of two.

The Keels lived at a house in the Momeyer area of rural Nash County and Diana Keel was reported missing on March 9. Diana Keel’s body was discovered in a wooded area on March 12 by a state transportation worker in the Leggett area of rural Edgecombe County.

As for the status of the truck, Stone on Thursday said the vehicle isn’t considered evidence in the case and is going to be left to Lynn Keel’s family.

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