Man, girlfriend charged after woman's mom dies from barbell attack

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New York Couple Charged After Woman Killed In Barbell Attack

A former New York corrections officer and his girlfriend were charged in connection with the death of the woman's mother, who died Saturday of complications after being struck in the face and head with a metal barbell in 2016, Newsday reported.

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Ralph Keppler, 27, and Francesca Kiel, 21, both of Lynbrook, New York, were arrested Sunday and charged with second-degree murder, the newspaper reported. Police said the two suspects had been dating at the time of the attack.

Theresa Kiel, 56, of Long Beach, was attacked Dec. 4, 2016, WNBC reported, citing a Nassau County police report. She lost an eye and her skull was partially collapsed, and she was left in a persistent vegetative state, according to the police report.

Keppler had been charged in January with second-degree attempted murder and two counts of first-degree assault, Newsday reported. The charge was upgraded Sunday, the newspaper reported.

Keppler and Theresa Kiel were involved in a business dispute when she was attacked, prosecutors told WNBC.

On the day of the attack, Theresa Kiel was inside the entrance corridor of her apartment when she was struck several times with the barbell, Newsday reported, citing a February news release from Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.

Singas called the attack “barbaric,” the newspaper reported.

Marc Gann, Keppler’s attorney, said his client is innocent.

"There were quite a number of people who had motives to attack Theresa Kiel and it's our belief that one of those people is responsible for what happened to her, not Ralph Keppler," Gann told Newsday.