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Suspect in deadly Columbia crash pleads guilty to murder

A man was sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to his role in a deadly Columbia crash.

Joshua Keller pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to second-degree murder, driving while intoxicated as a chronic offender and second-degree assault, according to Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Rodewald.

Keller was sentenced to 18 years on the murder charge, 15 years for driving while intoxicated and 15 years on the assault charge, to be served concurrently.

Keller was behind the wheel at the time of the head-on crash at Business Loop 70 East and Eastland Circle that killed Sebastian Sneed in December 2016. A six-year-old child in Sneed’s car was also injured.

During a motion hearing in August 2018, Keller’s lawyer, Jenan Thompson, argued Sneed’s decisions to not wear a seat belt and drive with alcohol and THC, the active ingredient of cannibis, in his system were to blame for his death.

During the same hearing, the prosecution said Sneed’s intoxication levels do not absolve Keller of guilt.

Prosecutors said they were satisfied with Keller’s sentence.

“Our office is pleased with the outcome, and we feel justice has been done,” Rodewald said.

Keller was set to go to trial on the charges on Tuesday.

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