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Conviction Upheld For Killer Of Two Boys

December 29, 1986

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ The Nebraska Supreme Court today upheld the murder conviction and death sentence for a man in the 1983 slayings of two suburban Omaha youngsters, one of whom disappeared while delivering newspapers.

In an unsigned decision, the high court rejected John Joubert’s argument that his guilty pleas to two first-degree murder counts were not made freely, voluntarily and knowingly.

The court also swept aside Joubert’s contentions that a three-judge sentencing panel erred in 1984 when it ordered him to die in the electric chair.

Joubert pleaded guilty to the abductions and killings of Danny Joe Eberle, 13, and Christopher Paul Walden, 12. Each boy was slashed or stabbed several times.

Eberle disappeared while delivering newspapers. Walden was abducted on his way to school. The widely publicized search for the killer ended when Joubert was arrested after he pushed and threatened a nursery school teacher in January 1984.

Joubert, a former airman at Offutt Air Force Base, argued that before he entered his pleas, the trial court promised him a hearing on a motion to suppress statements he made to authorities. He said the trial court failed to keep its promise, entitling him to withdraw his pleas and to have another trial.

″The decision to plead guilty was clearly Joubert’s, and nothing in the record suggests that Joubert’s decision had anything to do with earlier statements made by the district court regarding the suppression hearing,″ the Supreme Court said.

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