Ex-Virginia Tech student’s trial begins in girl’s 2016 death

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (AP) — Prosecutors told jurors that a former Virginia Tech student charged as an accessory in the death of a 13-year-old girl was closely involved in helping a friend plan the killing.
But Natalie Keepers’ lawyers told the jury Tuesday that Keepers believed the talk of killing the girl was just a fantasy.
The conflicting portrayals of Keepers came during opening statements at her trial. Keepers has pleaded not guilty to being an accessory before the fact in the 2016 fatal stabbing of Nicole Lovell.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt said Keepers discussed various ways of killing Lovell with her friend, David Eisenhauer, The Roanoke Times reports . Keepers’ attorney said Keepers only participated in the discussion to maintain her friendship with Eisenhauer.
Keepers, of Laurel, Maryland, and Eisenhauer, of Columbia, Maryland, were both freshmen engineering students at Virginia Tech at the time of the killing. Lovell was a Blacksburg middle school student.
Eisenhauer is now serving a 50-year sentence after pleading no contest to first-degree murder.
The first witnesses to testify included a Blacksburg police detective and an FBI agent who interviewed Keepers.
Jurors were shown several video clips from the interviews. In one, Keepers gave a detailed account of how Eisenhauer stabbed Lovell to death in the woods.
“He wanted me there to help,” Keepers said. “He wanted me to help kill her.”
Keepers said Eisenhauer drove her to Virginia Tech before the killing and she went to her dorm room. She has denied being present for the stabbing.
Keepers, now 21, also told police in the video clips that she and Eisenhauer talked about different ways to kill Lovell.
“He was bouncing so many ideas off my head, I couldn’t keep track of them all,” she said. “He was the one who officially developed the plan.”
During Eisenhauer’s trial, prosecutors said Eisenhauer met Lovell online and communicated with her for months before meeting her in person. They said he subsequently killed her because he feared she would expose their relationship.