A Lynbrook man and the victim's daughter have been charged in connection with the brutal 2016 beating of a woman who died Saturday of her injuries, Nassau County police and the man's attorney said.
Ralph Keppler, 27, and Francesca Kiel, 21, both of the same Spencer Avenue address, were arrested Sunday by the Nassau County Homicide Squad and Long Beach Police Department and charged with second-degree murder, according to a news release.
Keppler, a former New York City correction officer, previously had been charged back in January with second-degree attempted murder and two counts of first-degree assault.
Kiel is dating Keppler and is the victim’s daughter, according to Marc Gann, the Mineola-based attorney representing Keppler. It was not immediately clear who is representing Kiel.
On Dec. 4, 2016, the victim, Theresa Kiel, was inside the entrance corridor of her Long Beach apartment when she was attacked and struck several times on the head and face with a metal barbell, according to a February release from Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
Theresa Kiel, 56, lost her right eye and was left in a vegetative state, according to the DA. Singas called the attack “barbaric” and alleged it was motivated by a business dispute.
Theresa Kiel succumbed to her injuries as a result of the attack and was pronounced dead at North Shore Manhasset Hospital at 6:27 p.m. Saturday, police said.
Gann said Keppler is innocent. “There were quite a number of people who had motives to attack Theresa Kiel and it’s our belief that one of those people is responsible for what happened to her, not Ralph Keppler,” he said.
“I’m certainly saddened by Theresa Kiel’s death, but it does not change anything of any significance in the way that we’ve been defending the case,” Gann said Sunday, adding that he has been treating it as a homicide case all along due to the critical condition of the victim.
Keppler had been out on bail, but was taken into custody Sunday after the charges were upgraded, he said.
Both defendants are scheduled to be arraigned Monday in First District Court in Hempstead, police said.