MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Lynbrook woman was sentenced today to 13 years in prison for her role in planning her mother’s murder.
Francesca Kiel, 23, pled guilty before Judge Christopher Quinn on July 14 to manslaughter in the first degree (a B violent felony) and was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Co-defendant Ralph Keppler pleaded guilty in December 2019 to charges of murder in the second degree (an A-I felony), conspiracy in the second degree (a B felony) and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree (an A misdemeanor). Judge Quinn sentenced the defendant to 22 years to life in prison on June 30.
“Francesca Kiel and her boyfriend meticulously planned the attack and murder of her own mother, Theresa Kiel, in December 2016,” DA Singas said. “This was a particularly challenging investigation, because the co-defendants had worked hard to cover their tracks both before and after the attack. Thanks to extraordinary detective work from the Long Beach and Nassau County police departments, we unraveled this case and brought Theresa’s killer to justice. Our condolences are with Theresa’s mother and brother, as well her many friends and coworkers in the Malverne School system.”
Acting Long Beach Police Commissioner Philip L. Ragona commended Long Beach Detectives, Nassau County Police Electronics Squad and the District Attorney’s Office Major Offense Bureau. “The diligence of the Long Beach Detective Division during the course of this two-year investigation uncovered Francesca Kiel’s involvement in the murder of her mother Theresa Kiel. This is some of the finest work I’ve seen in my thirty years of police work,” said Ragona.
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. Prior to the attack, Theresa Kiel worked as a teacher in the Malverne school district.
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.