Nash County husband pleads no contest in murder of wife

Nash County husband pleads no contest in murder of wife
Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 1:27 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2021 at 2:08 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - A Nash County man pleaded no contest in a high-profile murder trial that was moved to Greenville.

Lynn Keel was accused of killing his wife, Diana Keel, back in 2019.

The Nash County woman’s body was found by a D.O.T. worker in a rural area of Edgecombe County on March 13, 2019.

Keel originally told deputies that his wife had left home to run errands before she disappeared.

Deputies say the husband then took off before he was eventually caught in Arizona.

Keel Monday afternoon pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping. Under a plea deal, the state agreed that Keel be sentenced to between 32 and 41 years in prison.

Diana Keel’s family, including her mother, were in the courtroom.

District Attorney Robert Evans told the judge that Keel would gain financially with the death, having taken out more than $1,000,000 in life insurance for his wife.

Evans said the couple was seen having a heated argument on the morning of March 8th on their front porch. The D.A. told the judge that the wife was beaten to death in their bedroom, that Keel bought cleaning supplies at Walmart, cleaned the room, and rolled up her body in a tarp.

Evans said they believe Diana Keel was still alive when she was wrapped up in the tarp and loaded into her SUV.

The plea came on the first day of jury selection in Keel’s trial which was moved to Pitt County due to extensive publicity in the case.

Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone was in the courtroom, saying justice was served.

Keel’s attorney says they are glad with the decision made, saying the agreement reached satisfied everyone.

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