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Long IslandCrime

Internet search centered around killing, prosecutor in Long Beach homicide case says

Ralph Keppler and Francesca Kiel are jailed while

Ralph Keppler and Francesca Kiel are jailed while awaiting trial on second-degree murder charges in the death of her mother, Theresa Kiel. Photo Credit: NCPD

Internet searches linked to an email account of a Lynbrook woman accused of teaming up with her boyfriend to kill her mother showed a search of topics including “easiest way to kill someone,” a prosecutor said Friday.

Google searches connected to a Gmail account belonging to Francesca Kiel also included searches about two weeks before her mother’s homicide of “methods for killing with your bare hands” and “single skull death blows,” prosecutor Stefanie Palma also told a judge.

The revelation came as Kiel, 22, and her boyfriend, ex-New York City correction officer Ralph Keppler, 29, appeared Friday in Nassau County Court for a conference in their criminal case.

Kiel’s attorney, Geoffrey Prime, said after court that the prosecution had just handed over the victim’s medical records and records linked to the allegations about the internet searches.

“There’s no evidence that my client searched in the manner that the district attorney’s office is implying,” he added.

Kiel and Keppler face murder and conspiracy charges in the December 2016 fatal beating of Theresa Kiel, 56, of Long Beach, a former Malverne teacher.

Prosecutors have alleged Keppler, of Lynbrook, used a metal pipe to attack the victim at 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 4, 2016, in the entrance of her apartment complex — an assault they say was motivated by a business dispute.

Keppler had filed a lawsuit before the attack claiming he and his family gave Theresa Kiel and her adult son, Vincent, money to develop a dating app, but she squandered it.

The Nassau district attorney’s office previously has alleged that the victim’s daughter put a GPS device on her mother’s car to track her and called a cab to pick up Keppler after the attack.

Both defendants maintain their innocence and remain jailed while awaiting trial.

Theresa Kiel lived in a vegetative state for nearly two years after the attack before dying while hospitalized in November 2018.

Police arrested Keppler on suspicion of attempted murder in early 2018, before police arrested both defendants on murder charges after the victim’s death.

Palma also told Acting State Supreme Court Justice Christopher Quinn on Friday that a search linked to Francesca Kiel’s Gmail account on Nov. 23, 2016 asked the question: “Can you be fired for being a suspect in a crime?”

Keppler’s lawyer, Marc Gann, declined to comment after court. He has said previously that he believed his client was the victim of a “setup,” and that many people had the motivation to attack the victim because of the “significant financial dispute” involving a civil lawsuit in which she and Keppler were involved.

The case will be back in court early next month.

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