CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (AP) — A former Virginia Tech student has pleaded no contest in the 2016 killing of a 13-year-old girl.
News outlets report that David Eisenhauer entered his plea Friday to all three charges against him in the stabbing death of Nicole Lovell: first-degree murder, abduction and concealing a body.
The plea came on the fourth day of testimony in his trial. Prosecutors told jurors Eisenhauer, then 18, killed Lovell because he was afraid she would expose his improper relationship with the underage girl.
A plea of no contest means a defendant acknowledges there's enough evidence to convict him, but doesn't admit he committed the crime. The plea has the same effect as a guilty plea.
Lovell's mother, Tammy Weeks, hugged prosecutor Mary Pettitt after Eisenhauer entered his pleas and was found guilty by Judge Robert Turk.
During opening statements, Eisenhauer's lawyer attempted to shift the blame to his alleged accomplice, Natalie Keepers, who has been charged as an accessory and is scheduled to go on trial in September.
Keepers told police she and Eisenhauer talked about various ways to kill the girl and helped dump her body after Eisenhauer stabbed her. She insisted that she wasn't present for the actual killing, but Eisenhauer's lawyers suggested she was there and could have been the one who killed Lovell.
Prosecutors showed jurors a piece of paper with Lovell's address on it, found in Eisenhauer's dorm room. They also presented evidence that Eisenhauer's DNA was found under Lovell's fingernails and her blood was found in the trunk of his car.