Hampton Woman Charged With Assault In Sister's Death

By Liz Premo

Atlantic News, Thursday, April 1, 2004

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]
Helen Garland
in Hampton District Court
[Atlantic News Photo
by Liz Premo]

HAMPTON — Clad in an orange prison jumpsuit and seated quietly before Hampton District Court Judge Francis Frasier, 74-year-old Helen Garland was arraigned Saturday, March 27 on three counts of first degree assault in connection with the death of her sister, Alice Keyho, 85.

Garland, who resided with Keyho at 10 Philbrook Terrace in Hampton, stands accused of having "purposely caused serious bodily injury" by allegedly striking Keyho in the head and mouth, and kicking her in the back. The assault reportedly took place on the night of Sunday, March 21, though a 911 emergency phone call from the residence was apparently not placed until just past 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 23. After several days of on-site investigation and interviews with Garland, police took her into custody on Friday, March 26.

According to Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jennie Duval, an autopsy performed on Keyho revealed that she had suffered numerous injuries, including a subdural hemorrhage between the brain and the skull, contusions and abrasions on both sides of her face, two black eyes, oral lacerations, bruising across her chest, and 22 broken ribs. A post-mortem abrasion on Keyho's back was consistent with her body having been dragged after she had died. Further medical tests were being conducted at this newspaper's press time to determine the exact cause of Keyho's death.

According an affidavit submitted by Detective Thomas P. Gudaitis, Garland had reportedly admitted to Hampton police that she had "back handed" Keyho in the mouth that Sunday night, causing Keyho's mouth to bleed. She reportedly gave Keyho wet paper towels to clean the blood from herself and the floor. Garland further stated that "I might have given her a boot as I walked by her, with the side of my foot … I was wearing my slippers." According to Gudaitis' report, Garland then told police that she "did not mean to kill her." Garland also reportedly admitted to striking her sister (who had been living with Garland since May 2003) on several occasions in the past.

Garland entered no pleas at Saturday's hearing, which was attended by numerous members of the regional news media as well as four of her friends, two of whom held one another's hand for apparent mutual support. Explaining the nature of the charges and noting that the case "exceeded the jurisdiction for the district to hear and decide," Judge Frasier advised that Garland would have to be indicted by a Rockingham County grand jury. A probable cause hearing was set for Monday, April 5 at 11 a.m.

Judge Frasier set bail at a recommended amount of $25,000 cash or corporate surety, along with several conditions should bail be posted. Among them, Garland must notify Hampton police of any changes in her residence or address; a waiver of extradition must be executed; she is prohibited from travel outside the state of New Hampshire without court approval; and she is prohibited from having contact with certain witnesses, including family members. (The names of these individuals are on a sealed list which was provided to the defendant by the court.)

NH Senior Assistant Attorney General Michael Delaney later called it "a fairly standard bail order" which is "deemed appropriate in this case."

Garland, who did not have an attorney present at the hearing, did not post bail. When Judge Frasier asked her if she had already the opportunity to speak to an attorney, Garland told him "no." Then, when the judge spoke with her about obtaining a court-appointed attorney, she responded, "I have to talk to somebody."

{Photo right:} ARRAIGNED — Escorted by Hampton and NH State Police officers, Helen Garland (center) was led from Hampton District Court after appearing before Judge Francis Frasier Saturday morning. Garland has been charged with three counts of first degree assault in connection with the death of her sister, Alice Keyho.
[Atlantic News Photo by Liz Premo]

Judge Frasier reminded Garland that each assault charge constitutes a Class "A" felony, with each count carrying a penalty of a $4000 fine and 7-1/2 to 15 years in the state prison. Incarceration would likely increase if there is evidence that the assaults involved "the use of force against a person with the intention of taking advantage of the victim's age or physical disability under RSA651:6,I(e)." The charges and resulting penalties, as well as the bail amount, could possibly be upgraded depending upon the results of further medical testing determining the exact cause of Keyho's death.

Following the proceedings, Garland was escorted in handcuffs from the court house to a waiting NH state police vehicle, which transported her back to the Rockingham County Jail in Brentwood. She will again appear in court at the April 5 probable cause hearing.