CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) The trial for a former Virginia Tech student accused of killing Blacksburg teenager, Nicole Lovell, begins in February.
David Eisenhauer will face a jury trial starting February 5th and lasting until at least the 16th. A Montgomery County judge set the date Monday morning during a nearly six hour hearing.
Judge Robert Turk set the hearing to continue conversation of a series of motions filed on behalf of Eisenhauer.
Turk denied a motion to suppress several letters sent to the Commonwealth's Attorney's office from fellow inmates of Eisenhauers at the Western Virginia Regional Jail. The letters weren't read allowed in the courtroom but were from people who had interacted with him while in jail. The motion may be overturned if the judge sees it's appropriate following the cases of the inmates who wrote the letters.
A larger motion to suppress all statements made to law enforcement during the initial meeting and questioning between Eisenhauer and law enforcement was put on hold. Judge Turk said he wants more time to review the presented material that included several video and audio recordings of Eisenhauer talking with law enforcement.
New details of the search and findings were released during Monday's motion hearing.
Detective Desiree Twigger testified she went to Lovell's home after she went missing. Usernames and passwords to various social media accounts were written on the wall in her bedroom, Twigger said in court. She noticed a nightstand was blocking the door to her bedroom and the window was open.
A note that read "I heart David" was also on the wall. Lovell had told a best friend that she was going to sneak out of he home with the man named David she had reportedly met on Kik the night she went missing.
During the police investigation, information from the social media app, Kik, led detectives to David Eisenhauer's account and username, Dr.Tombstone.
Investigators rushed to Eisenhauer's dorm room at Virginia Tech in West Ambler Johnston Hall and, with the help from a Residential Adviser, entered his room. When no one answered the door, the RA allowed them inside.
Eisenhauer was asleep on a bed in a sleeping bag and startled when investigators yelled for him to show his hands. The raised voices and surprised tone from Eisenhauer were evident in an audio recording played during the hearing.
Eisenhauer was asked to come to the Blacksburg Police Station for questioning. Audio recordings prove he volunteered to come to the station and was allowed to take personal items.
During questioning, and after signing a Miranda Rights form, Eisenhauer told police he started talking to a girl on the social media platform Omegle who said she was 16 or 17, Eisenhauer recounted.
He said he wanted someone to talk to who was a stranger, which is why he turned to a random conversation generator app Omegle that connects people for conversations.
Their conversations quickly turned to the app, Kik. Eisenhauer said the girl, who he later identified as Lovell, told him everyone hated her. He said he comforted her. The two agreed to meet at her home, an apartment complex in Blacksburg.
After leading him to different locations, Eisenhauer said he finally met Lovell at her home. He said she climbed out of a window with a backpack and blanket appearing to seem ready to run away. In a video recording of the questioning between him and investigators, he told them Lovell looked like she was 11 years old. He had hesitations, hugged her, and wanted to get away.
He said he left and later deleted his social media accounts so the girl couldn't find a trace of him.
Questioning became more intense but not interrogating, as parts of the questioning period were shown in court.
At one point Eisenhauer told investigators police should look into finding a body, a live body or a dead body, instead of interrogating the last person who saw her alive.
The video recording then shows Eisenhauer walking out of the questioning room and off screen. At that time he told investigators he was calling a lawyer.
He was later brought back into the room and informed he was being detained.
Investigators then worked to write up arrests warrants for abduction and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He sat in the questioning room for another four hours. Video shows Twigger reentering the room and demanding Eisenhauer for his cell phone.
His lawyers argue law enforcement illegally entered his dorm room, illegally interrogated him, and illegally seized his cell phone. They're asking the judge to throw out the majority of audio and video recordings of the moments at his dorm room and in the questioning room.
Twigger told the court she did not have a search warrant to take the phone but decided to take it to protect evidence from being deleted. A search of the phone wasn't started until the police department obtained a search warrant to view the contents of the phone.
While waiting Eisenhauer is shown telling law enforcement, he doesn't want to be difficult, but that he doesn't know what he's up against. Also, he said he had recently bought a shovel and that purchase was not going to look good.
The judge made no ruling on the motion to suppress this information, but said he will announce his ruling at a later date.
The prosecution and defense also spent a lengthy time talking about what electronic evidence the defense requests to review that includes raw data from about 30 electronic devices.
His lawyers want to see time, location, and message data that's available, as well as additional time stamps, chart applications, and information that's found on phones.
Lovell's family and friends remained in court during the hearing and wore blue to honor Lovell.
Natalie Keepers, the woman charged in connection to Lovell's death is scheduled to be in court on Wednesday for a motion hearing.
Her trial now overlaps Eisenhauer's jury trial date. Lawyers have not publicly said if they plan to file a motion to change the date.
CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Court documents show a Virginia Tech student accused of killing a 13-year-old girl said he might have had sex with her and was worried she was pregnant.
David Eisenhauer, 19, is charged with the first-degree murder of Nicole Lovell.
Natalie Keepers, 22, is charged with accessory before the fact and concealing a body.
According to court documents filed this week, Keepers told investigators that Eisenhauer met Lovell at a high school party.
He worried that he might have had sex with Lovell, Keepers told investigators, but claimed he could not remember because something caused him to black out at the party and to awaken the next day in a ditch.
Keepers also told police Eisenhauer feared Lovell was pregnant and claimed the girl had threatened to kill herself unless he visited her.
The court documents also show the timeline of Keepers' initial interviews with the Blacksburg Police Department.
Keepers’ lawyers want the statements thrown out because they argue that investigators did not tell Keepers that she could remain silent or have an attorney present until more than a day into their questioning of her.
Prosecutors argue that because Keepers was first questioned as an alibi witness for Eisenhauer and only became a suspect after incriminating herself, and because she signed statements waiving her rights to speak with an attorney, her words should be allowed as evidence.
Other bullet points revealed in the newly filed court documents:
- Eisenhauer told police that he was with Keepers when Lovell had gone missing on the night of Jan. 26, 2016.
- Keepers said that she and Eisenhauer had a “fling” the summer before they came to Blacksburg and became best friends when they entered Virginia Tech’s engineering program. She described their relationship as “really tight” and had seen Eisenhauer at least four of the six days before she was questioned. Eisenhauer had driven her to her boyfriend’s apartment the night before investigators questioned her, which would have been shortly before Eisenhauer was arrested.
- Eisenhauer had high school friends and went to high school parties, Keepers said. During Tech’s 2015-16 winter break, Eisenhauer attended a high school party and met a young girl.
- Keepers said since Eisenhauer was a member of Tech's cross country team, he didn't drink, yet he claimed to have blacked out at the party and to not recall what happened there.
- Eisenhauer said that a friend told him that he had been making out with a girl at the party and that the girl said she was 16, and that he had communicated with her after the party and was worried that she was underage.
- About a week after Christmas 2015, Eisenhauer expressed concerns that the girl might be pregnant.
- Keepers claimed that around midnight on Jan. 26, 2016, Eisenhauer came to her dorm room to say the girl had “revealed to him” that she was 13 or 14 and that the girl had threatened to kill herself if he broke off contact with her.
Keepers gave several versions of events during two days of questioning by investigators, but consistently denied being there when Lovell died and claimed Eisenhauer was the killer.
In hearings last month, lawyers played recordings of Keepers’ statements in which she said that she had helped Eisenhauer plan Lovell’s death.
She said that Eisenhauer took Lovell to a wooded area near Craig Creek Road in Montgomery County and stabbed her to death.
She claimed Lovell’s body was initially hidden near Craig Creek Road, then they moved her to Surry County, North Carolina.
Keepers is scheduled for trial in March.