BLACKSBURG, Va. – An appeals court upheld the conviction of Natalie Keepers by a lower court for her role in the murder of 13-year-old Nicole Lovell, according to court documents.
Those documents show that Keepers and her legal team cited two reasons why they felt her trial was unfair.
- Statements Keepers made to police were included in the original trial
- Two specific jurors were not removed despite the defense’s request
However, the Virginia Court of Appeals didn’t agree with Keepers and her legal team and it affirmed the conviction by the trial court.
According to opinion notes in court documents, the appellate court stated that the trial court did not make a mistake in allowing statements Keepers made to police to be included and that there was no problem with the inclusion of the two jurors Keepers took issue with.
Montgomery County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt told 10 News she was pleased with the unanimous decision.
“It confirmed the solid police work behind the conviction and the fairness of the trial,” Pettitt said in a statement.
Going forward, Keepers can ask to have the appeal heard by the entire Court of Appeals (en banc) or she can appeal the decision directly to the Virginia Supreme Court, according to Pettitt.
Lovell’s family released the following statement in October when the appeals court agreed to review Keepers’ case:
“This appeal is demeaning to Nicole Lovell and our family. This case has drug our family in and out of court rooms and caused many heartaches that is unrepairable. We as a family thought that Natalie Keepers received a light sentence like her co-defendant. We ask for prayers and the continuing support for our family as they once again drag this long process out even more, all we want at this time is our time to grieve and to get back Nicole’s belongings (minions blanket).”
Keepers is currently serving a 40-year sentence.
David Eisenhauer is currently serving a 50-year active sentence for abducting, murdering (first-degree) and hiding the body of Lovell. Court records show he has not filed any type of appeal.