Crime and Courts
Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Daughter, Ex-Correction Guard Charged With Murder in Long Island Mom’s Barbell Beating Death

Francesca Kiel and Ralph Keppler are accused of murder in the death of Theresa Kiel, who died nearly two years after the attack

What to Know

  • A Long Island woman died of her injuries Saturday, nearly two years after a brutal beating, police say
  • Her 21-year-old daughter was charged with second-degree murder; her boyfriend has also been charged with murder
  • The boyfriend is a former city correction officer who had been working on a business deal with the victim; he alleges she stole from him

The daughter of a Long Island woman who died Saturday, nearly two years after she was bludgeoned with a barbell, has been charged with murder, along with a former business partner of the victim with whom she allegedly conspired.

Theresa Kiel, 56, of Long Beach, was attacked on Dec. 4, 2016, Nassau County police said. She lost an eye and her skull partially collapsed in the attack, which left her in a persistent vegetative state, prosecutors said.

Kiel, a former teacher, died of her injuries Saturday, 11 months after the attack.

Her daughter, 21-year-old Francesca Kiel, had never been charged in the case prior to Saturday. Prosecutors described her as a co-conspirator in the killing of her own mother. Ralph Keppler, a 27-year-old former city correction officer who had been working with the daughter and victim to create a dating app, also has been charged with second-degree murder.

Keppler had also been dating the daughter at the time of the attack, media reports say. They lived at the same address.

Keppler initially was charged with attempted murder and assault in January but that charge was upgraded after the death. 

According to Keppler's attorney, his family had invested several hundred thousand dollars with Theresa Kiel. Keppler alleges Kiel was siphoning off money; he was suing her for unspecified damages. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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