Nash County man faces up to 41 years in prison in wife’s murder after no contest plea

Local News

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT/WNCN) — Rexford Lynn Keel, the Nash County man accused of killing his wife in 2019, was in court in Greenville on Monday as jury selection was complete and a trial was set to begin.

However, Keel pleaded no contest to the murder and was sentenced by a judge to up to 41 years in prison on murder and kidnapping charges.

On March 17, 2019, Keel, now 59, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 38-year-old Diana Keel.

Diana Alejandra Keel_1552358658395.jpg.jpg

Court documents from 2019 show she was found wearing only underwear and her wedding ring.

The Nash County sheriff said she had been stabbed and beaten to death.

Tire tracks were found close to her body.

Diana Keel, who was 38 when she died, was reported missing more than a week before her body was found. Lynn Keel was questioned following her disappearance but later released. 

Keel was arrested near Tuscon, Arizona in 2019 after a manhunt for him.

According to the Arizona search warrant, he was found with a knife, camping gear, and medication. Court documents show his pickup truck was spotted by a license plate reader. 

Pima County (Arizona) Superior Court Judge Lee Ann Roads found Lynn Keel knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently gave up his right to challenge extradition and signed the waiver. 

He was brought back to Nash County on March 22, 2019.

Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said Lynn Keel had taken a $1 million life insurance policy out on Diana Keel before her death.

Lynn Keel’s first wife died on Jan. 1, 2006, when she fell on the back steps of the home she shared with her husband. Authorities said they may go back and look into her death again.

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