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Long Island Woman Sentenced For Role In Mother's Murder Involving Boyfriend

Francesca Kiel
Francesca Kiel Photo Credit: NCPD

A 23-year-old woman will spend more than a decade behind bars after admitting to her role in killing her mother with her boyfriend in 2016.

Lynbrook resident Francesca Kiel has been sentenced to 13 years in prison after she pleaded guilty over the summer to first-degree manslaughter after attacking her mother, Theresa Kiel in December 2016 with boyfriend Ralph Keppler.

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said that Theresa Kiel and Keppler had been involved in a business dispute when he attacked her at her New York Avenue apartment in Long Beach at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016.

Once inside the entrance corridor of the apartment complex, 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.

Theresa Kiel was transported to South Nassau Communities Hospital in a vegetative state, where she remained until she died on Nov. 10, 2018, at the age of 56. Following the attack, Keppler fled and returned to the Lynbrook home he shared with Francesca Kiel.

Singas said that prior to the murder, Francesca Kiel purchased a GPS tracking device that was placed on her mother’s vehicle. 

She 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 to help monitor here whereabouts for Keppler.

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 Jan. 24, 2018 on attempted murder charges, which were upgraded when Theresa Kiel died.

Francesca Kiel was arrested on Nov. 11, 2018. Keppler has since been fired from the Department of Corrections.

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.

Keppler was sentenced to a term of 22 years to life in prison in June after pleading guilty to murder, conspiracy, and criminal possession of a weapon last December.

“Francesca Kiel and her boyfriend meticulously planned the attack and murder of her own mother, Theresa Kiel, in December 2016,” 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.”  

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