Keel receives 32-year sentence in wife's killing | The Enterprise
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Keel receives 32-year sentence in wife's killing

Posted on October 4, 2021

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Lynn Rex Keel pleaded no contest to second-degree murder on Monday in wife Diana Keel's 2019 beating death. Keel is shown here making his first court appearance in March 2019.

Drew C. Wilson | Times file photo

Lynn Rex Keel pleaded no contest to second-degree murder on Monday in wife Diana Keel's 2019 beating death. Keel is shown here making his first court appearance in March 2019.

lkay@springhopeenterprise.com | 252-265-8117

GREENVILLE — A Nash County man will serve at least 30 years in prison in his wife’s brutal beating death.

Lynn Rex Keel, 57, pleaded no contest to second-degree murder on Monday in the 2019 death of his 38-year-old wife Diana Keel, a Wilson nurse. The couple lived together near Momeyer.

The plea came just before jury selection in Keel’s first-degree murder trial. Keel also pleaded guilty to first-degree kidnapping. He is set to serve a total of 32 to 41 years in prison.

Revealed in court, Keel had taken out a $1 million life insurance policy for his wife prior to her death.

A witness saw the Keels having an argument on their porch the morning Diana Keel went missing, according to District Attorney Robert Evans, who personally prosecuted the case.

Keel severely beat his wife in their bedroom, then wrapped her in a tarp and placed her in her car. She was likely still alive at that point, Evans said.

A few days later, state transportation workers stumbled upon Diana Keel’s body along a rural road in Edgecombe County.

One possible reason for the plea is pretrial motions by public defender Matthew Geoffrion to suppress statements from an unidentified witness who saw the Keels arguing.

Diana Keel was Keel’s second wife. Investigators continue to examine the death of Elizabeth Bess Edwards Keel, 42, who died of head trauma in 2006. Lynn Keel claimed she fell down a set of steps and hit her forehead.

The death occurred at the same Old County Home Road house near Momeyer where Lynn and Diana Keel lived when Lynn Keel reported his second wife missing in early 2019.

Keel fled Nash County as Lt. Jeff Sherrod, a detective with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office, began to focus his investigation on him.

Authorities caught up to Keel several days later in Arizona. Authorities say Keel was within 35 miles of the Mexico border.

Nash County Senior Superior Court Judge Quentin Sumner moved the trial to Pitt County due to the amount of news coverage the case received in Nash County.

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