Eisenhauer Trial Day 5:
9:52 AM The judge has found Eisenhauer guilty of all three charges. Pre-sentencing will happen on May 22 and 23.
9:27 AM Court has been called to order. David Eisenhauer pleads no contest to the abduction charge, the murder charge, and the charge of concealing a dead body.
Eisenhauer Trial Day 4:
4:00 PM Detective Twigger is recalled to the stand by the Commonwealth. There was some discussion as to introducing messages between David Eisenhauer and Natalie Keepers. Eisenhauer’s defense team also asked to speak with their client, then all of the attorney’s went to speak with eachother privately. The Judge has dismissed the jury for the day.
3:12 PM The Commonwealth called Cory Bartoe with the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. Bartoe works in the department looking for fingerprints. Bartoe said that he was the one who analyzed fingerprints on the cleaning wipes that were introduced as evidence. Bartoe said that on the wipes, he was able to match fingerprints to both Natalie Keepers and David Eisenhauer. Bartoe was asked about fingerprints on the shovel. He said that the fingerprints on the shovel were Natalie Keepers. Bartoe was asked about the bag that was found in the dumpster on Virginia Tech’s campus. He said that the prints on that bag belonged to Natalie Keepers. In cross examination, Eisenhauer’s defense team talked about how DNA of your fingerprint is made up. Bartoe was asked if he examined a knife for fingerprints and he stated that he did not. He also said that women’s boots were also not examined for fingerprints. The defense also asked about a phone charger and a Nike gym bag if they were tested for fingerprints and Bartoe stated that these items were not submitted for him to analyze for finger prints. Bartoe said that none of the prints on the shovel were linked to David Eisenhauer.
1:31 PM The Commonwealth calls Nicole Harold. She is a supervisor of forensic evidence with the Department of Forensic Science in Roanoke. Mrs. Harold said that she was able to develop DNA profiles from blood samples from David Eisenhauer, Natalie Keepers, and Nicole Lovell. From Nicole Lovell’s fingernail clippings, she was able to determine that another DNA profile along with Nicole Lovell’s DNA was in that sample. She also said that Natalie Keeper’s DNA profile was eliminated from being that DNA profile, but that David Eisenhauer’s DNA could not be eliminated. She said that when she examined blood samples from Eisenhauer’s car, both Natalie Keepers and David Eisenhauer’ DNA profiles could be eliminated, but that Nicole Lovell’s DNA profile could not be eliminated. Meaning that the blood stains from David Eisenhauer’s car, most likely came from Nicole Lovell. The probability that is could be someone else is 1 in 7.2 or roughly the population of the world. When discussing cleaning wipes that were found in the dumpsters on the Virginia Tech campus. Both Eisenhauer and Keepers were eliminated as being linked to that blood sample, but Nicole Lovell’s DNA was not able to be eliminated. The same results were found for the four gloves that were also found in the dumpster on the Virginia Tech campus.
1:22 PM The Commonwealth calls Travis Harvey with the Blacksburg Police Department. He was there at Roanoke Memorial Hospital when David Eisenhauer was examined. He was there when photos were taken of Eisenhauer and he also was in possession of Eisenhauer’s personal evidence recovery kit. He then gave that kit to Detective Czernicki.
1:04 PM The Commonwealth calls Julie Wesel who works at Virginia Tech. She works with the Hokie passport office. A Hokie passport is an identification card used on Virginia Tech’s campus. The cards can give a student access to a building on campus like a dorm hall, or a meal plan, or be used to get into a gym. Mrs. Wesel went over David Eisenhauer’s access log from his Hokie passport on the days of January 26 and January 27, 2016. Mrs. Wesel also went over the access log for those same days for Natalie Keepers.
11:22 AM The Commonwealth calls Sergeant Kale Craver with the Blacksburg Police Department. Craver said it was his job to take photos and collect evidence at the dumpsters on Virginia Tech’s campus. Craver says that he also found a rubber kitchen glove also in the dumpster. He says he found a couple of gloves in the dumpster. During cross examination by Eisenhauer’s defense team, Carver says that he did collect a knife by the Vet-Med pond. In court yesterday, we heard that a knife was found in the pond by police. Here are photos from the dumpsters that police searched on Virginia Tech’s campus:
11:14 AM The Commonwealth calls Officer Jason Brooks with the Virginia Tech Police Department. Officer Brooks says that he was also tasked to look at dumpsters on the campus. Officer Brooks says that with the bleach they also found Clorox wipes with a reddish/ brown stain on them and paper towels.
11:00 AM The Commonwealth calls Officer Austin Sumners with the Virginia Tech Police Department. Officer Sumners says that he was tasked with looking in the dumpsters near a parking lot on the Virginia Tech campus to look for anything that might be related to the case. Officer Sumner says there was a bag with bleach in it.
10:00 AM The Commonwealth recalls Detective Twigger with the Blacksburg Police Department. The Commonwealth shows still pictures from surveillance video from the Walmart in Christiansburg on January 26, 2016 . It shows both Natalie Keepers and David Eisenhauer going into the Walmart to buy a shovel and walking out. It appears that Eisenhauer is the one who purchased the shovel. The Commonwealth then shows pictures from surveillance at the Cookout on January 26, 2016. In the pictures you can see both Natalie Keepers and David Eisenhauer ordering food at Cookout that night. Detective Twigger points out that Natalie Keepers is in different clothes at Cookout. Detective Twigger then looks at pictures from the Walmart in Wytheville on January 27, 2016. She says those pictures show both David Eisenhauer and Natalie Keepers in the Walmart in Wytheville. Tony Anderson, one of Eisenhauer’s defense lawyers starts cross examination. Anderson questions are directed at the type of clothing Natalie Keepers was wearing in particular her boots. Here are pictures of the surveillance videos and Natalie Keeper’s boots:
9:51 AM The Commonwealth calls Chance Harrington who worked security at the Wytheville Walmart. Harrington says that he saw the receipt and saw that cleaning supplies were bought including bleach, two pairs of cleaning gloves, and Walmart brand of cleaning wipes. Eisenhauer’s defense then shows Mr. Harrington a picture of the surveillance video that was taken at the Wytheville Walmart and remarks what boots Natalie Keepers was wearing at the time.
9:00 AM Court is called back into session. The Commonwealth calls Deana Jones with the Blacksburg Police Department. It was her job to analyze the data from the Garmin GPS that was found in Eisenhauer’s car. She made a power point with the data from January 26 to January 27, 2016. Jones then going into detail about how the GPS moves within those dates. The data shows what times the GPS went to Craig Creek Road and back to the Virginia Tech Campus. The GPS data shows that on January 27, 2016 the GPS went from the Virginia Tech Campus to Craig Creek Road, then goes south towards the Walmart in Wytheville, then goes on Interstate 77 to Exit 19 off Coulson Church Road. Coulson Church Road is the last point on the GPS. John Lichtenstein, one of Eisenhauer’s lawyers asks questions about the movement of the GPS when it gets to the Virginia Tech campus on January 27, 2016 at around two in the morning.
Eisenhauer Trial Day 3:
The Commonwealth called one more special agent from the Virginia State Police and then at 5:00 PM the Judge decided to break for the day.
4:25 PM Commonwealth calls Officer Michael Via with the Blacksburg Police Department. He went to the Craig Creek Road location. Officer Via was shown pictures of footprints in the snow. Officer Via said that the path of footprints ended at a spot where there appeared to be blood off of Craig Creek Road.
3:01 PM Cross examination from Eisenhauer’s defense starts. Detective Czernicki talks about what was recovered as evidence in Natalie Keepers possession. Tony Anderson asked Detective Czernicki to identify a couple of photos that he had taken. The photos were of a suitcase and what was in the suitcase. The photos did show blood spots on a Nike gym bag which was in the suitcase, which was in the possession of Natalie Keepers at that time. There was also a minion blanket in the suitcase. It was known that Nicole Lovell left her house the night she disappeared with a minions blanket. Detective Czernicki also identified other items including part of a stick and a women’s underwear in the suitcase. He said there was also cleaning supplies in the suitcase. There was also a sock with what appeared to be blood in the suitcase. There were also Clorox wipes found in the Nike bag which was in the suitcase. Detective Czernicki said that there was a Nike bag in the suitcase that appeared to have blood on it. Detective Czernicki did say that on the stick there looked like blood on it.
2:25 PM Detective Czernicki is called back to the stand after a break to explain what he found in the trunk of Eisenhauer’s car. Detective Czernicki says there were paper towels along with cleaning supplies and also a blood stain in the trunk. He said that there were items that looked like there were blood on them. He said that those items did test positive for blood. The courtroom then saw photographs of the trunk of Eisenhauer’s car and the contents that were in it. Detective Czernicki also said that he found blood on the passenger rear tire. In the rear seat, there were Clorox wipes, a shovel with blood on it and also possible blood stains on the seat as well. Detective Czernicki did get the shovel out of some packaging and did show it to the jury. Detective Czernicki says there was also a GPS system in the car as well as a gasoline receipt with Eisenhauer’s name.
1:36 PM The commonwealth calls Detective Mike Czernicki with the Blacksburg Police Department. Detective Czernicki recovered Nicole Lovell’s phone from the pond. He removed it from the paint can to take photos of it then it was replaced back in the can to seal it. In the morning hours of January 30th, Detective Czernicki and other law enforcement officers went looking for an area that was known as the paintball field on Craig Creek Road in Montgomery County. Law enforcement agencies then went to 409 Craig Creek Road. At the scene there, Detective Czernicki saw a blood stain and he photographed that blood spot near the road. On January 31, 2016, Czernicki was asked to search Eisenhauer’s vehicle. Detective Czernicki says that a new search warrant was issued because they search the vehicle at the Radford Police Department. The courtroom was shown pictures of Eisenhauer’s car. Detective Czernicki said that they did find a shovel in Eisenhauer’s car. After a quick break, the courtroom will find out what was in the trunk of Eisenhauer’s car.
1:26 PM The Commonwealth calls Trooper Christopher Grzelak with the Virginia State Police to testify. Trooper Grzelak was searching the pond near the veterinary medical school on Virginia Tech’s Campus for a cell phone. Trooper Grzelak said that he did find what appeared to be an iPhone at the bottom of the pond and secured it underwater then gave it to the lead investigator. Trooper Grzelak also said that while he was there, someone also found a knife near the pond.
12:52 PM Shaun Caudell a First Sergeant with Virginia State Police is called to testify by the Commonwealth. Sergeant Caudell was asked to search David Eisnhauer’s dorm room. Sergeant Caudell says that he did have a search warrant when he searched Eisenhauer’s dorm room. Sergeant Caudell says there was a checkbook in Eisenhauer’s dorm room which had the name David E Eisenhauer on it. Sergeant Caudell described what he saw in his room and shows evidence of what was in the room. He said that he found a Walmart receipt near the trash can in the room. The receipt listed that a shovel. The also found three computers total in teh dorm room. At this time, Eisenhauer’s defense team objected a photograph because there was what appears to be a condom wrapper in the photo. The picture was of a backpack and the contents which was in the backpack, including a condom along with a piece of paper which had Nicole Lovell’s address on it. The contents of the backpack were taken out of the backpack to be photographed.
11:56 AM Judge Turk said that as of right now, he has not decided if Natalie Keepers is allowed to testify or not in the Eisenhauer trial. Earlier, Eisenhauer’s defense team said that they would want to call Natalie Keepers as a witness for the defense. Natalie Keeper’s defense team filed a motion so that she would not be asked to testify.
11:15 AM The Commonwealth calls Detective Scott Craig with the Blacksburg Police Department. Detective Craig was the one who set up the device that took data off of the phones in the case. Detective Craig says that there is a software program that then extracts the data and puts it in a report. Detective Craig said that he started to extract data from David Eisenhauer’s phone around 10:46 AM on January 30, 2016 and completed a second extraction around 12:15PM on that same day. He says that data extraction of Eisenhauer’s phone happened after a search warrant was obtained. Detective Craig said that he did not analyze any of the data that was on the phones. He says that he simply extracted the data, then he passed the data report and phone off to someone else. Detective Craig says that he also extracted data from Natalie Keepers on January 30, 2016. During cross examination by the defense, the defense questioned Detective Craig about the software that was used on the date extraction as well as the difference between raw data and the report that the software produced. Eisenhauer’s defense team made multiple objections as to introducing the phones of David Eisenhauer and Natalie Keepers as well as what was extracted from them as evidence in the trial.
10:57 AM The Commonwealth calls Detective Ryan Hite with the Blacksburg Police Department to testify. Detective Ryan Hite was tasked to locate Natalie Keepers. Detective Hite says that Natalie Keepers gave him her phone. During the cross examination by the defense, Detective Hite says that at the time of his involvement, multiple law enforcement agencies were involved in the missing persons case. Detective Hite says that the Blacksburg Police Department was the lead law enforcement agency on the case. Detective Hite says that the investigation was very fast paced at the time it was happening back in 2016.
10:50 AM After a quick break, The Commonwealth calls Detective Desiree Twigger with the Blacksburg Police Department to testify. Detective Twigger says that she was the one that took David Eisenhauer’s cell phone. She said that at the time they believed that there was communication between David Eisenhauer and Nicole Lovell. She said that she took the phone because she wanted to preserve what was on the phone at that time. Detective Twigger says that at the time Eisenhauer did give her the phone, but that police did not have a search warrant for the phone at that time and they kept it for safe keeping. Detective Twigger says that Eisenhauer was arrested at 5:16 am the morning of January 30th.
10:16 AM Matthew Wilburn is called to testify by the Commonwealth. Wilburn is a retired investigator with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. Wilburn says he was asked to sit with Eisenhauer at the Blacksburg Police Department while he was being detained. In the courtroom, video is played from the time Wilburn sat with Eisenhauer at the police department. While Wilburn was sitting with Eisenhauer, Eisenhauer talks about the shovel and maintains that he didn’t do anything. During the time that Eisenhauer sat with Wilburn, Eisenhauer says that he wants to help with the investigation.
9:16 AM FBI Agent Travis Witt starts his testimony. The Commonwealth starts to question FBI Agent Travis Witt. Witt interviewed Eisenhauer back in 2016. Witt says that after Eisenhauer asked for a lawyer and walked out of the interview room, he was brought back in and not able to leave. The courtroom also watches parts of the interview that took place back in 2016 when Eisenhauer first spoke with law enforcement. In the interview Eisenhauer says that he did nothing wrong and that “the truth will set you free.” Even after Eisenhauer asks for a lawyer, he still asks Witt about the investigation in the interview. Eisenhauer asks if he would be on the news. In the interview Eisenhauer says that he is worried about being associated with the missing 13 year old girl. In the interview Eisenhauer says that he doesn’t want to go to jail. Eisenhauer says that he bought a shovel for snow purposes and that Natalie Keepers was with him when he bought the shovel during the interview.
9:06 AM Day 3 of the Eisenhauer trial starts. Gil Harrington, Morgan Harrington’s mother is here in the courtroom this morning. Morgan Harrington was abducted and murdered in 2009. Her mother Gil, started an organization called Help Save the Next Girl in the Roanoke Valley and in other areas.
Tuesday afternoon, opening statements were made in David Eisenhauer’s trial. In court, Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt addressed the jury for opening statements comparing a criminal case to a puzzle. She explained there are pieces to a puzzle just like the jury will hear evidence and statements and it’s the Commonwealth’s job to make them all fit. She painted the picture of thirteen year old Nicole Lovell being excited for her secret date with David, while David Eisenhauer was trying to figure out how to get rid of Nicole.
In opening statements from the defense, defense attorney John Lichtenstein tried to convince the jury that it is not David Eisenhauer who killed Nicole Lovell, but he infers that it was actually his accused accomplice Natalie Keepers could be the one who killed Nicole. He says that the evidence in the case would point to that conclusion.
The first witness called by the Commonwealth is Tammy Weeks, the mother of Nicole Lovell. Weeks testifies about what happened the night Nicole Lovell went missing. She and her family and friends wore blue because blue was Nicole’s favorite color. Weeks started to get emotional when she was shown a picture of Nicole and she said that the last time she had seen Nicole after she was discovered missing was in her coffin.
Another witness called by the Commonwealth was Dr. Gayle Suzuki who is the one who preformed the autopsy of Nicole Lovell. She said that when she examined Nicole she had multiple cuts and stab wounds on her neck and chest. She also had a bruise on her head. Dr. Suzuki said the cause of death for Nicole Lovell was a stab wound to the neck which in her professional opinion was made with a knife. Dr. Suzuki also said that they did not find that Nicole Lovell was pregnant at the time she died.
Next, people in the courtroom were shown video from David Eisenhauer’s interview with police and FBI agents when he was brought in by police two years ago.