Keepers' gym bag with Lovell's bloody 'Minions' blanket entered into evidence

By Heather Butterworth - Digital Content Producer, Rachel Lucas - Anchor / Reporter

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. - 1:30 p.m. update:

After noon recess, Detective Twigger was called back to the stand. The Commonwealth introduced social media communication between Eisenhauer and Keepers via Kik between October and January, 2016 that was taken from Keepers' phone. Keepers' username was listed as hugsalskdjkhg. She spoke to Eisenhauer under his username dr_tombstone.

Twigger read aloud messages that had been deleted between the two.

"We can run a game plan," Keepers started out the conversation. The two discussed plans after Eisenhauer suggested breaking into Lovell's Blacksburg home and switching out her medication for cyanide pills. That conversation happened on January 6, 2016.

Judge Turk overruled an objection by the defense to keep the jury for hearing additional messages. Defense Attorney John Robertson argued that messages between the two related to Keepers concealing the body charge, not her accessory to murder charge.

More conversations were read aloud by Twigger that happened between January 29 and Jan 30, 2016. Eisenhauer used a new Kik username David_97. Keepers username remained the same. During those messages, Eisenhauer used a code word "vomit." Keepers responded with one word: "Police."

More conversations were read aloud between the two that happened during the same time period.

The Commonwealth rested its case. Court was adjourned for the day.


Noon update:

Deana Jones, with the Blacksburg Police Department, was called to testify about analysis on David Eisenhauer's Garmin GPS that was in the vehicle he was driving when he killed Nicole Lovell.

Jones created a track log presentation that outlines Eisenhauer's vehicle traveling on January 26 to January 27, the night Lovell was abducted from her Blacksburg home.

The data, which was also presented during Eisenhauer's trial, corroborates his whereabouts with surveillance images taken at Walmart, Cook-Out and the location of Nicole Lovell's home, as well as the murder scene, and North Carolina hillside where her body was hidden.

Blacksburg Police Department Detective Scott Craig was called as the Commonwealth's next witness.

Craig was responsible for extracting data from Natalie Keepers' phone that she voluntarily gave to police, as well as David Eisenhauer's phone.

Both extractions, creating what's known as a UFED report, happened on January 30, 2016.


11 a.m. update:

State Police Special Agent Shawn Caudell was called to testify Wednesday.

The defense objected to evidence that was about to be entered.

Judge Robert Turk dismissed the jury to hear the objection.

Defense Attorney John Robertson said he objected to the Commonwealth entering photos and evidence that relate to Nicole Lovell 's personal items that were found blood covered in a gym bag in Natalie Keepers' dorm room.

Robertson said that evidence was related to her charge of concealing a body that she already pleaded guilty to.

Commonwealth Attorney Mary Pettitt argued the evidence entered would corroborate evidence relating to statements Keepers made in interrogation videos the defense entered into evidence Tuesday.

Turk agreed with Pettitt and allowed the evidence to be entered.

Once the jury returned, Caudell testified that he executed a search warrant on Keepers' Virginia Tech dorm located in Lee Hall, room 327.

During Caudell's testimony, the gym bag found in Keeper's dorm room, along with one of its contents, Nicole Lovell's bloody "Minions" blanket was shown to the jury.

The defense again objected but was overruled.

Nicole Harold, the forensic biology section supervisor at the Virginia Department of Forensic Science was called to testify about DNA recovered over the course of the investigation.

During her testimony, Lovell was identified as the most probable contributor of the blood found on the gym bag, the "Minions" blanket, Keepers' boots and in the vehicle Eisenhauer was driving. Lovell was also the probable contributor of the blood found on the shovel and at the crime scene.


Natalie Keepers is set to be in court Wednesday as day three of her trial begins in Montgomery County. 

Keepers is the former Virginia Tech student who is accused of helping kill 13-year-old Nicole Lovell. 

Nearly two hours of never before publicly seen interrogation video was aired in the courtroom Tuesday. Although there are conflicting accounts given by Keepers, she can be heard emotionally telling investigators details about David Eisenhauer's murder plot.

Keepers repeatedly told investigators that she was not there while Lovell was murdered. She even went on to say she didn't believe Eisenhauer was capable of murder. 

Eisenhauer was found guilty and will spend the next 50 years in prison.

Last month, Keepers pleaded guilty to concealing Lovell's body. Her other charge is accessory before the fact of murder. 

Officer Michael Via, with the Blacksburg Police Department, was the first witness to be called to the stand. During Via's testimony, scene photos from Craig's Creek Road where Lovell was murdered was entered into evidence and shown to the jury.

Detective Mike Czernicki, with the Blacksburg Police Department, was the second witness called to the stand to testify about his role as a forensic investigator in the case. Czernicki was involved with the Lovell case as soon as she was reported missing.

He testified that after Eisenhauer was arrested on Jan. 30, 2016, he was sent to Craig's Creek Road to do an area search for evidence. He said based on footprints in the snow, there was evidence that two people had gotten out of a vehicle in the area. He said that he and other investigators found blood at the scene on Craig's Creek Road where Lovell was killed. Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Patrick Jensen asked him questions about what investigators found in Eisenhauer's vehicle that included a shovel, a GPS device and a trunk containing bleach wipes and blood stains. Additional blood stains were found on the interior floor mats as well as on the vehicle tires. 

Keepers watched as Czernicki unwrapped a long brown evidence bag that contained the shovel investigators believe was used in Lovell's murder. It was revealed during Eisenhauer's trial that Keeper's bloody palm print was found on the shovel.

Detective D.D. Twigger, with the Blacksburg Police Department, a key evidence witness in Eisenhauer's trial, was called to the stand just before 10 a.m. During Twigger's testimony, she identified surveillance photo's of Keepers and Eisenhauer purchasing the shovel and hairspray at Walmart in Christiansburg  on Jan. 26. She also identified both in surveillance images from Cook-Out in Blacksburg. During interrogation audio aired Tuesday, Keepers told investigators she met with Eisenhauer at the restaurant, where he discussed his plans to kill Lovell. Commonwealth Attorney Mary Pettitt entered in Keepers' boots that investigators confiscated. Twigger testified she was seen wearing them during those surveillance photos.

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