Death Details Surface

Prosecutor: Diamond Ring Imprints On 85-year-old

By Lara Bricker

Hampton Union, Friday, April 16, 2004

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Helen Garland, who has been charged with three counts of first degree assault, is escorted from the Hampton District Court House after a probable cause and bail hearing Thursday.
[Staff photo by Sarah Zenewicz]

HAMPTON - New details emerged Wednesday about 85-year-old Alice Keyho's attempts to fend off an alleged brutal beating by her sister Helen Garland before Keyho's death last month.

Evidence found inside Garland's house suggests Keyho put up a hard fight to escape her sister's alleged battering.

Deputy State Medical Examiner Jennie Duval found geometric diamond patterned injuries on Keyho's arms and forehead, which are believed to be defensive wounds, Senior Assistant Attorney General Michael Delaney said in a court hearing Thursday. The wounds were allegedly caused by a diamond ring worn by Garland. The alleged beating persisted through every room in the house, as blood was found throughout the small ranch home.

Garland, 74, of 10 Philbrook Terrace, appeared in Hampton District Court Thursday afternoon for a probable-cause hearing and a bail review on three charges of first-degree assault. Delaney said prosecutors still haven't ruled out the possibility of murder charges in the case but are waiting for the final autopsy results.

Represented by public defender Dorothy Graham, Garland waived the probable-cause hearing and asked for her bail to be reduced to personal recognizance. Because the charges are felonies, they will be prosecuted at the superior-court level, not district court.

Delaney argued that the nature of the case and charges against Garland warrant the $25,000 cash or surety bail already in place.

"From the state's perspective, these are not charges that are run-of-the-mill elder abuse, these are charges of horrific elder abuse," Delaney said.

Judge Francis J. Frasier conferred in his chambers for several minutes with both Delaney and Graham, before issuing his order. He reduced Garland's bail to $10,000 cash or surety. As of Thursday afternoon, she was still in the Rockingham County Jail.

Graham said although her client owns her home on Philbrook Terrace outright and receives a check for $883 per month from Social Security, she does not have the means to post $25,000 bail. Garland has been in jail for the past 21 days, after her arrest March 26 for allegedly beating her sister before her death.

"I don't understand the rationale of how she could not find the surety to post bail in this matter," Delaney said, adding police saw very nice china throughout Garland's home.

Garland is active in the community, having sung in the First Congregational Church choir for 17 years, and volunteered for the Hampton Garden Club and for the Monday Club, her lawyer said. She has been retired from a banking career since 1991.

"Her life is in Hampton and her home is in Hampton," Graham said, adding Garland is not a flight risk. "It is reasonable for the court to conclude that the community is not in danger."

But Delaney said the horrific circumstances surrounding Keyho's death and beating are reason enough for a higher bail. While he wasn't aware of Garland making any attempt to leave town, he said "there is a temptation" given the circumstances. Human nature would lead people to believe that a 74-year-old woman couldn't commit a crime such as this, he said. He said the state was concerned because Garland had stayed overnight with several elderly friends before her arrest last month.

"The allegations in this case raise allegations of a terrible tragedy," he said. "The defendant has essentially admitted she left her sister deceased inside her home."

Delaney said Garland "staged" her sister's body so it would look like she had fallen down the stairs. Only when confronted with the medical examiner's report - which found a post-mortem abrasion from the body being moved after death - did Garland tell authorities what had occurred.

Keyho had 22 broken ribs, two black eyes, bruising all over her face and chest, brain hemorrhaging and the defensive wounds. The exact cause of her death has not been determined.

Keyho moved to live with her sister in Hampton last May after their brother, with whom she previously lived, had a heart attack. Garland told police and some neighbors that she was not happy about her sister living with her and that the two didn't get along.

Keyho has been described as a sweet woman who always remembered her friends birthdays and anniversaries in cards. An animal lover, she worked in a sweater factory in Newton, Mass., before it closed. Her brother provided for her after the factory closed.