Montgomery County Courthouse

The Montgomery County Courthouse, Feb. 6, 2018. 

The trial of Natalie Keepers on the charge of accessory before the fact in connection to the murder of 13-year-old Nicole Lovell began Monday with jury selection.

Keepers, who was a student at Virginia Tech at the time of her arrest, pleaded guilty to a related charge of concealing a dead body in August.

The jury selection began at 9 a.m. and consisted of a decent amount of discourse between the commonwealth and the defense attorneys. Ever since the crime was committed two years ago, the case has received a large amount of media attention. With that being said, the murder case has created a decent amount of bias, affecting the jury selection.

As a result of questioning from both sides in regard to the sympathy surrounding the case, a few members of the jury were dismissed from the court.

One of the jurors was dismissed after mentioning a previous murder within her own family, creating bias in her opinion toward the case. Another woman was dismissed after admitting to being acquainted with Lovell’s mother and began showing emotion in the courtroom after tying her own daughter into her thought process.

In an attempt by the defense attorney to test the jury’s reaction toward some elements of the case, some photos of the crime scene were brought up and were immediately shot down by Judge Robert Tuck.

These pictures had not been previously shown in the Eisenhauer trial and one of them consisted of Lovell’s dead body with her face exposed. The judge ruled that it was inappropriate to present this evidence to the jury at that time.

After questioning of members of the jury pool, the prosecution and defense were each allowed to dismiss six jurors, and a 14-member panel was seated.

Court will resume at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17, with opening statements.

Keepers’ co-defendant David Eisenhauer was found guilty in February on charges of first-degree murder, abduction and concealing a dead body. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison and 20 years of probation.

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