Top Crime Stories 2013: Double Homicide, Cold Case, Child Death - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Top Crime Stories 2013: Double Homicide, Cold Case, Child Death

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"We're all here for one reason, justice for Cathy Beard," Valley County Sheriff Casey Hurlburt said.

The family of an Ord woman killed in 1989 was finally able to see one chapter close, as John Oldson was convicted of murder.

He now serves a life sentence, but will appeal. As of October, his attorney was reviewing the entire court case to prepare to file with Nebraska's Supreme Court. 

Cathy Beard's family welcomed the verdict.  

Her brother Bill said, "This will help us to put closure to this entire year's long journey."

Oldson's trial was held in St. Paul, after it was moved from Valley County District Court in Ord.

Life was also the sentence for Peter Draper. The 48-year-old was convicted for the death of his two-year-old grandson. Joseph Rinehart Junior's mother Laura was sentenced to 12 to 22 years, while Draper's wife Nancy received a 20 to 30 year term.

The trial was moved from Franklin County to Adams County.

A double homicide rocked the tri-cities in November.

"This is a tragic day, and a deeply felt loss," Hall County Attorney Mark Young said.

Grand Island attorney and school board member Todd Elsbernd was shot getting in his pickup, outside his downtown office.

The shot was apparently fired at a distance from a rifle, allegedly by a disgruntled former client.

Michael Petersen is also accused of killing his ex-wife Nancy.

Court records say Petersen lay in wait, saying he wanted to get even with his ex-wife believing he was wronged in their divorce a decade ago.

Petersen faces charges in both Grand Island and Kearney and was arrested near Hastings, where police say he had a number of firearms.

He faces a pair of preliminary hearings in January.

Elsbernd's seat on the Grand Island school board has now been filled, but it's clear the double homicide has created a void felt by family and friends of both victims.

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