Natalie Keepers' request for cameras in the courtroom in Nicole Lovell case denied

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BLACKSBURG (WSLS 10) -- A request from Natalie Keepers' lawyers for video and audio recording of the preliminary hearing later this month has been denied.

Judge Robert Viar issued his order Tuesday.

Keepers is charged with accessory before and after the fact to the murder and improper disposal of a body in the death of 13-year-old Nicole Lovell. David Eisenhauer is charged with abduction and first-degree murder.

Defense lawyer John Robertson filed a motion in March asking the court to permit a video and audio recording using a court-reporting service.

The Commonwealth objected to the request, according to court documents.

In its argument, the defense stated, "Keepers must be permitted to use every available tool to enable her counsel to prepare her defense in these serious allegations."

"Video transcripts are valuable tool for reference when considering whether to use particular witnesses at trial, and when preparing for the direct or cross examination of those witnesses," the motion states.

A previous WSLS 10 request for cameras in the courtroom was denied.

Keepers request, according to the defense, is distinguishable from media requests because the video record will be used only for her defense, not released to the media and will not be subject to disclosure unless the court orders it.

The defense stated in its request, the video transcript would be "critical to her defense."

Keepers' preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 20 at 9 a.m..