Former deputy to face trial in ex-wife's death


LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) _ A Nez Perce County magistrate judge has ruled there is probable cause to try a former sheriff's deputy with strangling his ex-wife with a belt on May 1.
Judge Kent Merica made the decision to bound Joseph Thomas Jr.
over for trial on a first-degree murder charge after a preliminary hearing Wednesday. Thomas is charged with killing 28-year-old Beth Irby-Thomas and is scheduled to be arraigned next Wednesday.
Thomas' friend, Guy Arnzen, testified that on the night of Irby-Thomas' death, Thomas came over to his house and ``told me that he killed Beth.''
Arnzen said he called 911. Officers said they found Irby-Thomas in her house with a belt cinched around her neck.
Defense attorney Paul Thomas Clark made a brief statement against binding his client over for trial.

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