Hampton woman who allegedly killed elderly sister has died

By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, December 9, 2011

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON — Helen Garland, who was known for her community involvement before gaining notoriety for allegedly killing her sister in 2005, has died.

Garland, 85, died Friday, Dec. 2, in Glencliff, according to her obituary.

Garland was committed in 2007 to the state psychiatric hospital after being found incompetent to stand trial in the beating death of 85-year-old sister Alice Keyho in March 2004.

A judge ruled Garland was suffering from dementia at the time of the killing.

During the hearing, Dr. Albert Druktenis stated her dementia may have lowered her inhibitions, leading to the brutal attack on her sister.

Police and prosecutors said Garland beat Keyho in her Hampton home, breaking 22 of Keyho's ribs over several days and allegedly backhanding her hard enough to leave diamond ring imprints on her face, then dragging her sister's body around the house.

Keyho moved in with Garland on May 24, 2003, after their brother, with whom she previously lived, had a heart attack.

Police said Garland resented having to take care of Keyho.

According to a police affidavit, Garland confessed to the beating but “said that she never meant to kill her.”

When asked to elaborate further on her alleged abuse toward Keyho, Garland said, “I don't hit her often. She'd grab hold of my hand so I couldn't hit her again. I would never hit her in the head, it was around her chin.”

She also said in the past she “might have kicked her ... but lots of times I did that to her,” police transcripts state.

Garland retired from a banking career in 1991.

In an interview with the Hampton Union in 2004, shortly after she was indicted on a second-degree murder charge, Garland denied harming her sister.

She said her alleged confession was made out of frustration.

“I loved my sister,” Garland said. “My sister loved me. We had a good relationship.”

Garland told the Hampton Union that she once considered herself to be very involved in the community. She was a member of the First Congregational Church choir for 27 years, volunteered for the Hampton Garden Club and for the Monday Club, she said.

But after her husband, Roger, died in 1987, she withdrew from all of that.

Garland was born in Boston on Nov. 26, 1929, a daughter of the late George and Sara (Nicols) Keyho. She was predeceased by her husband, Roger P. Garland, who died in 1987.

According to Garland's obituary, services will be held Monday, Dec. 12, at 9 a.m. in the Remick & Gendron Funeral Home-Crematory, 811 Lafayette Road, Hampton. Burial will follow in High Street Cemetery, Hampton.