HAMPTON, N.H. -- A 74-year-old woman charged with beating her 85-year-old sister before her death was ordered held on $25,000 bail by a Hampton District Court judge yesterday.
Helen Garland was arrested Friday on three counts of first-degree assault. Attorney General Peter W. Heed said she is accused of striking her sister in the head and mouth and kicking her in the back. Her sister, Alice Keyho, was found dead by police on Tuesday morning with multiple injuries, including 22 broken ribs.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Michael Delaney told the Portsmouth Herald that authorities are still investigating whether they will file murder charges against Garland.
Garland told police that she may have hit her sister a few times but did not mean to kill her. The sisters shared Garland's home at 10 Philbrook Terrace, but Garland said she wasn't happy about the living arrangement, saying Keyho was a burden, according to court documents.
Hampton District Court Judge Francis Frasier ordered Garland not have any contact with her family as a condition of bail.
Garland did not have an attorney and told the judge she wasn't sure if she would apply for court-appointed counsel.
Authorities have not released an exact cause or manner in relation to Keyho's death, saying more autopsy work is pending.
Keyho suffered bruises all over her face and chest, two black eyes, bleeding between her brain and skull and the broken ribs, according to autopsy results by Dr. Jennie Duval, deputy chief state medical examiner. Keyho also had a large postmortem abrasion on her back, which appeared to be from being dragged across the floor.
Delaney said he could not comment on whether there was evidence of old injuries.
Authorities allege Garland and Keyho were not getting along Sunday afternoon. Garland later told police that she beat her sister in the kitchen, then threw her some wet paper towels and told her to clean herself and the floor. She then allegedly dragged Keyho's body onto an enclosed porch, where she left her until Tuesday morning when she called 911.
Police say they found bloody clothes in the trash and the bathroom hamper, as well as traces of blood in the garage, the porch, the kitchen, hallway, bathroom, and Keyho's bedroom.
Garland initially told police she thought Keyho had fallen down the stairs.
Keyho did not have a local doctor and had not had medical care in a number of years, her sister told police.