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Posted on: July 14, 2020

Lynbrook Woman Pleads Guilty for Role in Murdering Her Mother

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MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Lynbrook woman pled guilty today for her role in her mother’s murder.

Francesca Kiel, 23, pled guilty before Judge Christopher Quinn to Manslaughter in the First Degree (a B violent felony). The defendant is due back in court on September 9 and is expected to be sentenced to 13 years in prison.

“The shocking murder of Theresa Keil was made all the more horrific by her daughter’s involvement, helping her boyfriend Ralph Keppler track her mother by GPS, and calling the cab in which he fled after crushing her skull with a barbell,” DA Singas said. “Thanks to the hard work of the Long Beach Police Department, Nassau County Police Department’s Electronics Squad, and our prosecutors, Theresa Kiel’s killers were brought to justice.”

Acting Long Beach Police Commissioner Philip L. Ragona said, “Our investigators worked seamlessly with the DA’s office on one of the most complex and challenging cases I have seen and secured convictions on both defendants. I also commend the tireless efforts of Detective Lieutenant Stefan Chernaski, Lieutenant William Dodge, Detective Ted Christianson, the entire LBPD Detective Division, Detective Joe Brady from NCPD electronics, Senior Assistant District Attorney Stefanie Palma and Bureau Chief Michael Walsh of the NCDA’s Major Offense Bureau.”

DA Singas said that on Sunday, December 4, 2016, at approximately 10:30 p.m., the victim, Theresa Kiel was walking towards her apartment door at 5 New York Avenue in Long Beach.

Theresa Kiel and co-defendant Ralph Keppler were involved in a business dispute at the time of the attack.

The victim was inside the entrance corridor to the apartment complex when she was attacked by Keppler and struck several times on the head and face with a metal barbell. Kiel suffered severe brain damage, a shattered skull, a depressed right eye and lost teeth.

The victim was transported to South Nassau Communities Hospital at the time and was in a vegetative state until she passed away on November 10, 2018, at the age of 56.

Keppler fled the scene and returned to his Lynbrook home that he shared with Kiel’s daughter, Francesca.

Prior to the murder, Francesca Kiel purchased a GPS tracking device that was ultimately placed on her mother’s car. The defendant set up email alerts that notified her when her mother’s car was in the vicinity of her mother’s home or place of work. Francesca Kiel also called a Long Beach taxi company on the night of the murder, the same taxi company that picked up Keppler in the vicinity of the murder scene.

Keppler, who worked as a New York City correction officer, was arrested at Rikers Island by members of the Long Beach Police Department on January 24, 2018 on attempted murder charges. Those charges were upgraded when Theresa Kiel passed away.

After the initial arrest of Keppler, the District Attorney’s office and the Long Beach Police Department continued the investigation and it revealed Francesca Kiel’s involvement

Francesca Kiel was arrested on November 11, 2018.

Keppler has been fired by the Department of Correction.

District Attorney Singas commends the Long Beach Police Department and the Nassau County Police Department’s Electronics Squad for their outstanding investigative work on this case.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Stefanie Palma of DA Singas’ Major Offense Bureau is prosecuting the case. Keppler is represented by Marc Gann, Esq. and Francesca Kiel is represented by Geoffrey Prime, Esq.

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