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Idaho Supreme Court vacates former N. Idaho deputy's murder conviction

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BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Supreme Court has vacated the first-degree murder conviction of a former Nez Perce County sheriff's deputy found guilty of strangling his ex-wife.

The justices in a decision announced Friday ruled that the lower court erred by excluding evidence in Joseph Thomas Jr.'s trial that could have corroborated his claim that Beth Irby-Thomas liked to engage in erotic asphyxiation.

Thomas was convicted in December 2011 in 2nd District Court of strangling Beth Irby-Thomas and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Irby-Thomas was found dead with a belt around her neck on May 1, 2011.

The justices cited excluded evidence from friends who said Beth Irby-Thomas liked to be choked into unconsciousness.

The Nez Perce County Prosecutor's Office didn't return a call from The Associated Press on Friday.

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