At a court hearing Monday, a presiding judge set the date for the preliminary hearings for two Virginia Tech students charged in relation to the kidnapping and murder of 13-year-old Blacksburg resident Nicole M. Lovell. The hearings will begin March 28.
Neither of the defendants Natalie Keepers, 19, of Laurel, Md nor David Eisenhauer, 18, of Columbia, Md, have entered a plea or commented on the charges.
Eisenhauer has been arrested and charged with abduction and first-degree murder. After a hearing Thursday, Keepers now faces charges of accessory before the fact to first-degree murder, as well as one felony count of improper disposal of a dead body and one misdemeanor count of accessory after the fact in the commission of a felony.
Both teens may face life in prison if convicted of these charges.
Montgomery County Commonwealth's Attorney Mary Pettitt — the prosecuting attorney against Keepers and Eisenhauer — said in a news conference Lovell was stabbed to death on or immediately following Jan. 27, the day she went missing.
Lovell’s mother Tammy Weeks said in a news conference a nightstand had been pushed up against the girl’s bedroom door and her window was left ajar late the night she was discovered missing. She apparently snuck out to meet with Eisenhauer, whom she allegedly first met online in earlier weeks, according to The Washington Post.
The Blacksburg Police Department claims Lovell developed a relationship with Eisenhauer via social media, which he used to lure her from her home before she was murdered. Thursday, a prosecutor at a bond hearing said Eisenhauer and Keepers conspired to kill Lovell throughout the month of January.
Lovell’s remains were discovered by Virginia State Police on Route 89 in Surry County, N.C., about 100 miles from Blacksburg.