Judge orders suspect in fatal barbell beating held without bail

Posted: Updated:
MINEOLA -

A judge on Monday ordered one of the suspects in the fatal barbell beating of Theresa Kiel to be held without bail until his trial begins.

Ralph Keppler and the victim's daughter, Francesca Kiel, are accused of targeting the Long Beach woman, even going as far as to track her with a GPS device. In December 2016, prosecutors say Keppler used a barbell to attack Theresa Kiel, who spent nearly two years in a vegetative state before dying of her injuries.

Prosecutors quoted text messages from Keppler to friends, including one that read in part, "That (expletive) is gonna end up dead."

Nassau Assistant District Attorney Michael Walsh says there is overwhelming evidence linking Keppler to the slaying.

"There is video showing the perpetrator going behind a building. A barbell was found behind that building, with the victim's blood on it, and DNA that matches a DNA profile of that of Ralph Keppler," Walsh says.

Keppler's attorney, Marc Gann, says his client was set up.

The charges against Keppler and Francesa Kiel were upgraded to second-degree murder after Theresa Kiel succumbed to her injuries last month.

Last week, a judge ordered Francesa Kiel free on $1.5 million bail.

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