Two Monsters

June 5, 2016 at 11:34 am | Posted in Crime and punishment | Leave a comment
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Photo in 1887 of the actor Richard Mansfield, by Henry Van der Weyde (1838-1924; London,

Photo in 1887 of the actor Richard Mansfield, by Henry Van der Weyde (1838-1924; London,

A previous posting on this blog tried to make sense of the murderer of a sweet, trusting, in-love teen age girl by a high-achieving college student, who was both a good student and an althlete.

The only picture that seemed plausible at the the time was that the murderer was ordinarily a decent human being, but had been scared into becoming a murderer. His accomplice was hardly discussed in that posting, because she seemed to be a cipher. But it was implicitly assumed that she, too, was ordinarily a decent person, who had been driven by friendship to commit evil.

I was wrong.

A recent article by T. Rees Shapiro, Moriah Balangit in the Washington Post shows that David Eisenhauer and Natalie Keeper were pysochopathic monsters. They each really are both Jekyll and Hyde.

Indeed, the incident that begins the plot line in Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel bears an eerie resemblance to the sequence of events that unfolded from Nicole Lovell’s natural search for romantic love, a search whose natural strength would have been intensified by the self-doubt and desire for vindication that resulted from the ‘mean girl’ bullying she had endured at her middle school.

David Eisenhauer and Natalie Keeper constitute potentially instructive examples of how two people, well-raised in presumably loving families, could become like the SS troopers in Nazi concentration camps, and like the ‘guards’ in the present day concentration camps in North Korea.

We need a detailed understanding of how that happens.

Was David Eisenhauer a Jekyll-Hyde-like psychopath?

February 11, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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Torrential rain on Thassos island, Greece, photo by Edal Anton Lefterov, 6 July 2011.

Torrential rain on Thassos island, Greece, photo by Edal Anton Lefterov, 6 July 2011.

You probably have heard the horrifying story.  (If not, you can read about its various aspects here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

A sweet, cheerful, friendly, affectionate young girl, Nicole Lovell, in Blacksburg, Virginia, had overcome challenges that most of us will never face. She overcame lymphoma (a type of cancer), had a liver transplant, and a trachoetomy. The tracheotomy left a scar on Nicole’s throat.

Doing so took courage, fortitude, the strength of character to overcome fear, to endure physical pain. It entailed loneliness from being separated from her friends. It caused her unease about falling behind her classmates. What she did was nothing short of heroic. Her parents were subjected to staggering burdens, which they lovingly accepted.

The tracheotomy scar and Nicole’s medical absences from school made her the target of bullying and snubs at her middle school.

That, and her entry into adolescence, made her eager for a boyfriend. She sought one on social media. At 13 years old, in middle school, she thought she had found one, David Eisenhauer, 18 years old, an athlete and accomplished student at nearby Virginia Tech. She was proud and happy: she now had a handsome affectionate defender, and a living proof that she was lovable and attractive. For a girl in middle school, he was a trophy. She dreamt of starting a family with him. She spoke of running away with him.

At some point they had sex. At some point David Eisenhauer decided to kill her. He and a friend of his, Natalie M. Keepers, plotted for a month on where and how to do it. They bought a shovel. He had a knife. They selected a secluded spot on campus.

In November 2015, David arranged for Nichole to sneak out of her house to meet him in secret.

On the night of November 27, 2015, she climbed out of her bedroom window to meet him. She must have been happily excited and eager: she had even told a friend that she was going to run away with him (but not when). At some secluded location David stabbed Nicole to death. He and Natalie took Nicole’s body a little across the border of North Carolina and buried her.

Was David Eisenhauer a Jekyll-Hyde-like psychopath?

No, not according to what his roomate and others say.

Why then did he plot with a friend, for a month, to cold-bloodedly murder a sweet, trusting, affectionate young girl, Nicole Lovell, who adored and trusted him?

Here is a guess.

According to those who knew him, David Eisenhauer is intelligent, and is focused on the future.

He knew he had made a very serious mistake when, probably in a moment of weakness, he had earlier had sex with Nicole Lovell. Since she was a juvenile and he was not, if their sexual activities ever became known, he would be classed as a sex offender who took advantage of an under-age girl. For the rest of his life he would have to declare himself to the local police wherever he lived, and he would have to obey restrictions that barred him from proximity to schools and playgrounds, and even those used by his potential future children. If the sensible proposal to mark the passports of sex-offenders is eventually approved, some countries would thereafter deny him entry. He would be shamed in the eyes of his parents, friends, and classmates. Even his family would be disgusted by him, and would feel let down by him, and would even feel shame at having raised him.

Because of the bullying she had suffered, Nicole Lovell had a pattern of boasting about any evidence that she was lovable and attractive. In particular, she had boasted about him, on social media, and Nicole Lovell’s friends knew about him. David Eisenhauer knew that it was only a matter of time before Nicole boasted to her friends about having sex with him, and then that damning fact would quickly become widely known. All the bad consequences would ensue.

So David Eisenhauer felt that he had no choice but to silence Nicole Lovell by killing her.

He revealed his quandry and his plans to fellow student Natalie M. Keepers, a close and supportive friend, and enlisted her help.

We know what happened next. David Eisenhauer compounded his earlier serious crime of having sex with a minor by the far more serious crime of murder.

But suppose the plot had succeeded, and the murderers had never been identified?

After the murder, the only person who knew David Eisenhauer’s secret was Natalie Keepers. She herself had in the past been bullied, and was somewhat unstable – perhaps as a result of the bullying. So she was the only remaining threat. She was emotionally unstable. She might blurt out the secret during some therapy session in the future, or during some future dispute with David Eisenhauer.

Natalie Keepers was lucky that she and David Eisenhauer were caught.

Most likely, David Eisenhauer still had the knife and the shovel.

The scenario described above is just a guess. But it could explain what had seemed inexplicable.

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