Sister: 'I Know What Really Happened'

By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Friday, July 23, 2004

HAMPTON - Helen Garland, who already faces charges of beating her sister Alice Keyho last March and may now face additional charges, says she wants to share her side of the story but can't.

The 75-year-old woman has been instructed by her lawyer not to say a word to the media, especially now that state officials say she may be charged with murder after Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Jenny Duval ruled last week that Keyho's death was a homicide.

"I have nothing to say to you people," said Garland, who was reached at her home Wednesday night. "No one was here, except for me. I know what really happened that night."

Garland, who was indicted by a Rockingham County grand jury last month on six counts of first-degree assault on Keyho before her death, is out on bail and is living at her home in Hampton. An indictment is not an indication of guilt, but means the grand jury found enough evidence to warrant a trial on the allegations.

Assistant Attorney General Michael Delaney said he has been waiting for the autopsy results to see if he was going to file additional charges against Garland.

With the autopsy results in hand, additional charges could be forthcoming, Delaney said.

"In light of the information that we received, we are evaluating the charges already filed and reviewing whether or not to press additional charges," said Delaney.

Garland said the media coverage has been one-sided and that what has been reported in local newspapers is not accurate.

According to the autopsy report, Keyho, 85, suffered bruises all over her face and chest, two black eyes, bleeding between her brain and skull, and 22 broken ribs.

The report stated that Keyho's death is "associated with blunt trauma and associated injuries inflicted on the victim."

Delaney said the results of the autopsy will not be released because the report is considered confidential.

According to police, on March 23, Garland called 911 and told police that her sister had fallen down the stairs to her death.

Initially, Garland allegedly told police the last time she saw her sister alive was on March 22 at 9 p.m.

Police have said that they began to suspect Garland may have had a hand in Keyho's death after a medical examiner found numerous bruises on Keyho's body that Garland could not explain.

The examiner also said Keyho died before 11 p.m.March 22.

Police said Garland admitted abusing Keyho when faced with the results from the medical examiner.

In affidavits unsealed by Hampton District Court Judge Francis Frasier, Garland told police that she "didn't mean to kill her sister."

According to the affidavit, Garland admitted to beating her sister on a routine basis and back-handing Keyho in the mouth the day before her sister's death, causing Keyho to bleed.

Garland also admitted to dragging Keyho across the kitchen floor to the stairway, according to the affidavit.

"I don't hit her often," the affidavit quotes Garland of saying. "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 the chin. ... I might have kicked her but lots of times I did that to her."

The State Police Major Crime Unit was at the Philbrook Terrace home for two days gathering evidence. It allegedly seized bloody clothes from inside the trash in the garage and inside a hamper in the bathroom.

It also reportedly found blood inside the garage, porch, kitchen, main hallway, bathroom and Keyho's bedroom.

Hampton police officers arrested Garland and charged her with first-degree assault several days after the incident.

Delaney said his office will make a final determination whether additional charges will be brought in the next few weeks after reviewing all the details in the report.

If additional charges are filed, Delaney said they may, as with any case, revisit Garland's bail.