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Lyon County traffic stop leads to New York double murder conviction, Dateline feature Featured

Timothy Dean. Timothy Dean. 13 WHAM photo

A non-injury crash outside Neosho Rapids last year led to the conviction of a former Texas police chief in New York State earlier this year -- and the development of a Dateline feature that airs Friday night.

Sheriff Jeff Cope says the wreck in the 1600 block of Kansas Highway 130 early Oct. 20 did not appear to have any serious component to it.

A few days later, authorities in New York called with information that the driver, Timothy Dean, was a suspect in a double murder. The local interactions with Dean, a one-time police chief from Sunray, Texas, took on a sharper focus.

By that time, Dean was back in Texas but Lyon County deputies were able to impound the rental vehicle involved in the crash. Deputy Cory Nicolet later testified twice in the case, once during the preliminary hearing and again at trial.

Two months ago, Dean was convicted of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and other charges in the deaths of Joshua Niles and Amber Washburn, killing them two days after his wreck in eastern Lyon County. He is now serving life in prison without parole. Dean had lost his job as police chief after a felony child abuse arrest in May 2018.

Cope says Dateline recently came to Emporia for filming. Nicolet also went to New York for interviews as part of Dateline's investigation.

Cope also says interactions with other agencies may not take this magnitude very often, but they happen frequently -- whether it's with agencies from elsewhere in Kansas, other states or different federal jurisdictions.

Dateline airs at 8 pm Friday on NBC.

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