Murder conviction upheld for a former sheriff's deputy

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Idaho Court of Appeals has upheld the murder conviction of a 40-year-old former Nez Perce County Sheriff's deputy.

Joseph Thomas Jr. was convicted in December 2011 for strangling his ex-wife Beth Irby-Thomas. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

The key issue at trial was whether Thomas murdered his wife by strangulation, or whether the victim accidentally strangled herself. Thomas argues Lewiston's District Court excluded evidence that would've supported his case.

The Idaho Court of Appeals says the lower court erred in excluding some evidence but it determined the error was harmless to the case.

Thomas is currently being held at the Idaho Correctional Institution at Orofino.