NYC corrections officer charged in Lynbrook barbell attack

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LYNBROOK -

A New York City corrections officer from Lynbrook was charged Thursday with nearly bludgeoning a woman to death with a metal barbell handle.

Police say the sneak attack happened on Dec. 4, 2016 at the victim's house in Long Beach. They say Ralph Keppler repeatedly struck Theresa Kiel, 54, in her head, causing catastrophic brain injuries and leaving her in a coma.

Kiel's attorney Thomas Liotti says Keppler sent dozens  of emails to Kiel and her son, Vincent, threatening to kill them. In May 2016, Keppler filed a civil lawsuit against Kiel and her son, claiming the Kiels scammed him out of $350,000 in a deal to develop a dating app that never materialized.

"I always thought this guy was bad news, but I never thought he could be this violent," says Liotti. 

Keppler's attorney James Druker says his client was at his home having dinner and wrapping gifts at the time of the attack.

"I strongly believe, and I have since the inception, that Ralph had no part in whatever assault took place on her," says Druker. 

Keppler was charged with attempted murder and assault. He's being held without bail and due back in court on Tuesday.
 

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