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Bloody stick, Minions blanket, underwear entered into evidence in Eisenhauer trial

David Eisenhauer has pleaded not guilty to all charges

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va.5:00 p.m. UPDATE:

Court was adjourned for the day. The trial will resume Thursday at 9 a.m.

4:30 p.m. UPDATE:

Pictures of a bloody stick, Nicole Lovell’s bloody Minions blanket and bloody underwear were entered into evidence in the case on Wednesday afternoon.

The stick and Lovell’s personal items were found in a bloody gym bag found in Natalie Keepers' dorm room at Virginia Tech.

The defense is questioning Detective Czernicki about those findings. He photographed much of the evidence.

The defense also had Czernicki point out the bloody palm print found on a shovel used to kill Nicole Lovell that was earlier identified as belonging to Natalie Keepers.

In opening statements, Eisenhauer's defense attorneys made note those items were found in Keepers' dorm. They also said she used an email alias that contained a reference to “demonic fiction” author Cassandra Clare, specifically a book she wrote called “Clockwork Angel.”

The defense alleges she was fulfilling a story portrayed in that book by keeping Lovell’s personal items.


3 p.m. UPDATE:

A receipt was found in David Eisenhauer's car for fuel purchased the night of Jan. 26, 2016, the same night Lovell went missing.

The Commonwealth noted that an Otterbox that fit an iPhone 4 was also found in the vehicle.

2:50 p.m. UPDATE:

Mike Czernicki unwrapped the shovel that was found in Eisenhauer's car, the same shovel that investigators believe was used to kill her along with a knife. The knife has not been entered into evidence.

2:30 p.m. UPDATE:

Detective Mike Czernicki with the Blacksburg Police Department testified that he found paper towels, clothing and blood in the trunk of Eisenhauer's Lexus.

He said they recovered several items including shoes from the defendant that was covered with blood. Photos of the trunk and the car were entered into evidence.

Czernicki said there was also a mask, a cap and sneakers (that became of interest later on in the investigation) inside the trunk.

He also described photos of the vehicle where blood was found. Multiple photos were shown of blood stains in or on the vehicle. Photos were also taken of Clorox wipes and a container that had blood on the rim.

Those items were brought to the courtroom in an evidence box and entered into the case as evidence.


2:15 p.m. UPDATE:

Detective Mike Czernicki with the Blacksburg Police Department was also part of the investigative team that searched David Eisenhauer's Lexus after he was arrested.

Czernicki said there were a number of items of interest in his car which included a shovel, a number of beverage containers and a container of cleaning wipes along with a GPS device.

After an initial visual search, Czernicki said they began searching the trunk.

Judge Turk called a brief recess before the court will hear testimony about what was in the trunk.


2 p.m. UPDATE:

Virginia State Trooper Christopher Grzelak was called by the Commonwealth to testify about recovering an iPhone 4 at a Virginia Tech pond near the College of Veterinary Medicine.

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Grzelak said he found the phone underwater at the bottom of the pond. That cell phone was immediately put in an evidence container which is referred to as a "paint can."

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The defense questioned Grzelak about finding a knife at the scene of the pond and he said a member of his team found the knife, but was not actively searching for it.

Detective Mike Czernicki testified after that he was part of the team that was there that day. He said the iPhone that was found in the pond belongs to Nicole Lovell. Czernicki showed photos of the area they found the phone in. He brought the phone in the "paint can" evidence container to the courtroom. Czernicki said he realized the phone matched the description of Nicole Lovell's phone immediately when it was found. It matched the model and was cracked on the backside of the body.

Czernicki testified that he went to Craigs Creek Road during the investigation to an area known as the "paintball field" along with a crime scene team. This is the scene investigators say was the area Lovell was stabbed to death the night she went missing on Jan. 26.

Czernicki said the team was there for about four hours where they located a set of tire prints and footprints. After they received a call from another investigator, he was called to a nearby scene where a "large blood clot stain" was found. Photos of the blood stain on the pavement were shown to the jury.

Czernicki testified that he swabbed the blood stain.


1:30 p.m. UPDATE:

After a lunch recess, 1st Sgt. Shawn Caudell with Virginia State Police was called to the stand by the Commonwealth's Attorney.

Caudell was one of the investigators who executed a search warrant on David Eisenhauer's dorm room at Virginia Tech and he brought those items with him in a white evidence box.

The defense had multiple objections surrounding the items obtained by the search warrant. Those objections were overruled by Judge Turk.

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF THIS CASE

That same search warrant was surrounded by controversy months before the trial began as the defense argued those items were obtained illegally. Back then, Turk denied a motion to suppress that evidence.

In the evidence collected was a checkbook, an envelope and a Lexus keyfob.

The evidence collected from Eisenhauer's dorm room also contained the Walmart receipt that shows he bought a shovel and aerosol.

VIEW A COMPLETE TIMELINE OF THE LAST TWO YEARS IN THE CASE

Video evidence shown earlier in the day showed Eisenhauer telling investigators at the time of his arrest that he purchased the shovel on Sunday or Monday (Jan. 24 or 25, 2016). The receipt showed, however, that he purchased the shovel on the night of Jan. 26.

Nicole Lovell allegedly was set to have a date with Eisenhauer that same night.

She was reported missing the next morning.

The Commonwealth also introduced evidence by Caudell which was a photo of a backpack taken from Eisenhauer's dorm room and its contents, which included a used condom wrapper, and a green piece of paper with Nicole Lovell's address written on it. Caudell testified that it was her home address.

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The defense had no questions for Caudell.


Noon UPDATE:

There was a motion to quash by Natalie Keepers attorneys to keep Keepers from testifying in the trial. She is being kept in the Montgomery County Jail for the duration of the trial. Her attorneys also asked that she be moved to another jail. That matter will be left up to the sheriff's department. 

The judge said they will address that motion late next week when she is called to the stand. 


11 a.m. UPDATE: 

Blacksburg Police Department Detective Desiree Twigger was called to the stand. She testified about taking Eisenhauer's phone the night he was detained. 

She said they took his phone because they learned that there was electronic communication between Lovell and Eisenhauer. Twigger brought that cell phone into court with her in a plastic evidence bag.

Video shown earlier in the day shows Twigger took Eisenhauer's phone during the conversation between Eisenhauer and FBI Special Agent Travis Witt.

Twigger said Eisenhauer was arrested at 5:16 a.m. on January 30. She also brought items taken from him that night which include his wallet, Virginia Driver's License and his Virginia Tech Hokie Passport.

The defense did not have questions for Twigger, but said they reserved the right to call her later to the stand.


10:30 a.m. UPDATE:

Matt Wilburn, a retired member of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office was called by the Commonwealth to testify about his role in the case.

Wilburn is the second witness of the day and the fifth person of the 43 witnesses who will be called.

Video conversations between Wilburn and Eisenhauer were played in court. Eisenhauer told Wilburn that he purchased the shovel found in his car to shovel snow away from his vehicle that he kept on campus at Virginia Tech. It had snowed during that week in 2016. Snow was still on the ground in Blacksburg the night Lovell went missing from her home.

During that same conversation, Eisenhauer asks Wilburn is he thinks there is enough evidence to send him to jail that night.

"It's not looking good when there is a shovel in your car," Eisenhauer said.

Wilburn told Eisenhauer there was most likely enough evidence to keep him in jail that night.

Eisenhauer talks through his options with Wilburn and asked about double jeopardy, the search warrant process and other possible scenarios in the case.


10 a.m. UPDATE: 

Video evidence shown to the jury on Wednesday showed more of the conversation between FBI Special Agent Travis Witt and David Eisenhauer shortly after he was arrested. During that conversation, Eisenhauer talked multiple times about not giving investigators DNA evidence because he was suspicious they were trying to take it from him, including from a bottle of water they offered him.

He later drank from the bottle of water, but did not put the bottle to his lips, instead held the bottle up and poured water into his mouth.

Eisenhauer also had many questions about officers who were at his dorm room, and if they were searching his dorm room at Virginia Tech.

Eisenhauer also assumed during that conversation that his car was being searched. He preemptively told police that he had a shovel in his car.

"I know you are going to find it, so I wanted to tell you about it beforehand," Eisenhauer said.

Eisenhauer said it was purchased on the Sunday or Monday before the murder for the purpose of shoveling snow away from his car that he kept on campus.

DNA evidence was found on that same shovel, including a bloody palm print belonging to Natalie Keepers.

Commonwealth's Attorney Mary Pettitt also asked Special Agent Travis Witt about a cell phone he recovered during the investigation. According to testimony, an iPhone 4 was found in a paint can in the pond on campus at Virginia Tech.

The relevance of this evidence has not yet been explained.


9:20 a.m. UPDATE:

Judge Robert Turk began Day 3 of the trial by addressing a motion for a mistrial made by the defense on Tuesday. That motion was immediately denied. The defense filed the motion after the Commonwealth played a video of FBI Special Agent Travis Witt interviewing David Eisenhauer shortly after he was arrested and requested a lawyer. The video featured mainly statements made by Witt to Eisenhauer, with Eisenhauer giving little response. 

Defense attorneys argued those statements made by Witt, which included comments about sexual predators were prejudicial toward the jury and could cause them to form false ideas about the defendant. 

Judge Turk addressed the jury before the videos continued to be aired on Wednesday and said to not take statements by police as fact.


ORIGINAL STORY

The jury trial for accused murderer David Eisenhauer resumes Wednesday in Montgomery County. 

Eisenhauer, a 20-year-old who is a former Virginia Tech student, is charged with killing 13-year-old Blacksburg resident Nicole Lovell. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. 

Commonwealth's Attorney Mary Pettitt gave a chilling opening statement Tuesday about the events she says happened on the night of January 26, 2016, when Lovell was murdered.

According to her statement, Eisenhauer did Google searches on his laptop for "knockout drugs", "how to burn a body," and "how to get rid of bodies." Pettitt said her body was found a little over 4 miles away from Eisenhauer's grandparent's house.

An autopsy revealed Lovell was stabbed 14 times, most of which were to Lovell's head. Dr. Gayle Suzuki, a forensic pathologist, ruled Lovell's cause of death as a stab wound to the neck. Dr. Suzuki testified to multiple stab wounds in Lovell's neck and head as well as about eight stab wounds to Lovell's chest area. 

Natalie Keepers, who was also a Virginia Tech student at the time of the murder, is accused of helping Eisenhauer murder Lovell, and concealing her body. 

The defense said on Tuesday that the role of Keepers in Lovell's murder has been underplayed, and pointed out the fact that a bloody handprint found on a shovel that was used to kill Lovell belonged to Keepers.

This story will develop throughout the day. Check back for updates.

 


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