MONTGOMERY CO., Va. (WDBJ7) Natalie Keepers is set to go to trial in February 2018, a judge said on Monday morning.
Keepers is facing several charges in connection to the 2016 death of 13-year-old Nicole Lovell, who was from Blacksburg.
The judge also ruled on the motion to suppress evidence from a two-day interrogation from January 2016. Some of the evidence from the first day will be allowed, and all of the evidence from the second day will be. The judge said he reviewed 27 hours of video and tapes from those two days, and there was a change in tone where law enforcement became confrontational.
"As soon as the person, you realize the person you're talking to is no longer a witness but a suspect that's when Miranda should be advised," said Tod Burke, a former Maryland police officer and Radford University Professor. He explains why removing evidence may impact the trial.
"Anytime you're eliminating evidence, particularly for the prosecution, it could negatively effect the prosecution unless they have such strong evidence, then it really has no effect at all," Burke said.
Keepers' confession of helping her friend David Eisenhauer plan Lovell's murder and hide her body is still included in evidence. Questions seeming to demand a direct confession and moments where a reasonable person would believe they were a suspect are now omitted, the judge explained.
The other motions remain under advisement.
The judge set September 2017 as the final date for lawyers to file any further motions.
David Eisenhauer is also charged in Lovell's death. His trial is scheduled for this November.