Ex-NYC corrections officer pleads not guilty in barbell attack

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MINEOLA -

A former New York City corrections officer from Lynbrook pleaded not guilty Wednesday to attempted murder charges related to a barbell attack on a Long Beach woman in 2016. 

Prosecutors say Ralph Keppler ambushed Theresa Kiel, 54, on Dec. 4, 2016 as she was walking into her Long Beach apartment building – hitting her in the head with the metal handle of a barbell. She's been in a vegetative state ever since. Kiel is a longtime teacher in the Malverne Union Free School District.

At the time, Keppler had filed a lawsuit against the victim claiming she scammed him out of $350,000 in a deal to develop a dating app that never happened. 

Adding to the intrigue, Kiel's lawyer says her client disapproved of the fact that the suspect was dating Kiel's daughter, and that Keppler sent Kiel numerous threatening emails.

Keppler's attorney insisted Wednesday that his client is not guilty.

If convicted of the top count of attempted murder, Keppler would face five to 25 years in prison. The case is due back in court on Feb. 26.

Keppler is being held on $1 million bond.

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