13-year-old Nicole Lovell was kidnapped and murdered in January 2016. A grand jury indicted David Eisenhauer, 19, on three charges: first degree murder, kidnapping, and hiding her body. His friend Natalie Keepers, also 19, was charged with being an accessory to the murder, kidnapping, and hiding of the body.
Witnesses stated that Lovell told them she planned to sneak out of her house to meet her “18-year-old boyfriend named David.” According to prosecutors, Eisenhauer and Keepers planned the kidnapping and killing of Lovell meticulously, visiting two separate Wal-Mart stores to purchase cleaning supplies and a shovel.
Detective Ryan Hite said Keepers told investigators that she and Eisenhauer discussed several ways to murder Nicole including drugging her, making the murder look like suicide, and knocking her unconscious and leaving her to die of exposure. They decided on slitting her throat.
Keepers told investigators she was not present for the actual killing and a motive has yet to be disclosed.
Lovell was bullied at school as well as online due to her weight and for a scar on her neck. She required medication on a daily basis after receiving a liver transplant. When she was younger she also had lymphoma and a drug-resistant bacterial infection. Her parents said Lovell took to social media for comfort.
Montgomery County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt said Tuesday in a hearing that there was no evidence that Lovell had been sexually assaulted on the day she died, which is why the State will not be seeking the death penalty.
From The Roanoke Times:
She said Virginia law does allow for a capital charge when someone commits abduction and murder together. But the statute only applies when the abduction is committed with intent to sexually defile.
Instead, the former Virginia Tech cross country runner faces life in prison on the first-degree murder charge and 10 years on the abduction count — and five years for the concealment charge that a grand jury added through a direct indictment on Tuesday.
Keepers faces life in prison plus five years for her role.
When asked if either Eisenhauer or Keepers are expected to testify against each others, Pettitt said neither one is on her witness list at this time.
The trial dates are set for March 2017.