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Ex-Virginia Tech student convicted of killing 13-year-old girl to hide relationship faces sentencing

Defendants on right: David E. Eisenhauer and Natalie Marie Keepers face charges in connection to the death of 13-year-old Nicole Madison Lovell (pictured left).

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (AP) — A former Virginia Tech student convicted of killing a 13-year-old girl to hide his relationship with her is facing a lengthy prison sentence.

A two-day sentencing hearing for David Eisenhauer is scheduled to begin Tuesday.

After days of damaging testimony during his trial, Eisenhauer pleaded no contest in February in the 2016 stabbing death of Nicole Lovell, a 7th-grader from Blacksburg.

Judge Robert Turk told Eisenhauer he faces a sentence of up to life, plus 15 years.

Eisenhauer, of Columbia, Maryland, and his alleged accomplice, Natalie Keepers, of Laurel, Maryland, were both freshmen engineering students at Virginia Tech when Lovell was killed.

Prosecutors said Eisenhauer told Keepers that he feared Lovell could be pregnant. He said he may have had sex with Lovell at a party, but couldn’t remember because he blacked out and woke up later in a ditch.

Keepers is scheduled to stand trial in September on charges of being an accessory before the fact and concealing a body.

During Eisenhauer’s trial, Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt told jurors that Lovell and Eisenhauer had been communicating through social media for months and had met in person at least once before Lovell climbed out her bedroom window for a “secret date” with him just after midnight on Jan. 27, 2016.

Eisenhauer’s attorneys attempted to shift the blame to Keepers.

Eisenhauer, then 18, acknowledged meeting Lovell outside her apartment, but told police he left when he saw how young she was.

Lovell’s body was found three days later, just over the state line in North Carolina. A medical examiner testified that she had 14 stab wounds, including a lethal wound to her neck.