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Suspect held on #036;250,000 bond

Emotions ran high Wednesday as the court set a $250,000 cash or property bond for the Ironton woman accused of shooting and assaulting local real estate agent Debra Dickens.

Thursday, January 04, 2001

Emotions ran high Wednesday as the court set a $250,000 cash or property bond for the Ironton woman accused of shooting and assaulting local real estate agent Debra Dickens.

Visibly shaking, Elizabeth A. Keating, 43, of 1628 Ora Richey Road, was escorted inside Ironton Municipal Court for her arraignment Wednesday afternoon.

Family members of both Mrs. Keating and Mrs. Dickens watched as attorneys argued, and Judge Clark Collins scheduled Mrs. Keating’s preliminary hearing for Jan. 11 at 9 a.m.

Mrs. Keating was arrested Tuesday after Ironton Police officers responded to a 911 call and discovered she allegedly discharged a .38-caliber revolver at Mrs. Dickens, owner of M&M Realty-Appraisals, 407 Railroad St.

Assistant prosecuting attorney Mack Anderson had asked that a $250,000 cash or $500,000 property bond be considered.

Anderson told the judge his request was based on the list of events uncovered by police investigators and "statements (that) were made by the defendant."

"There is an indication there may be some instability," he said. "And, for that reason, we feel a substantial bond be set."

Defense attorney David McCown, who was acting in attorney Mark McCown’s absence, argued that the prosecutor’s office had "given no indication (Mrs. Keating) has a prior (criminal) record."

"She has a spotless record she didn’t realize what was going on," McCown told the judge. "She did not attempt to flee from the scene she tried to assist the victim and help stop her bleeding."

McCown asked that a lesser bond be set, suggesting a $50,000 bond would be "more attainable" for Mrs. Keating’s family.

"Having a bond of such magnitude ($250,000) would prevent her from being released," he said.

Anderson countered that "her actions certainly indicated she knew what she did."

Mrs. Keating parked her car several blocks away prior to walking to the office, he said.

"She went into the business disguised, discharged a firearm without notice and attempted to beat the victim with the gun and a stapler," he said. "The victim attempted to crawl out of the building, but (Mrs. Keating) tried to pull her back in – ripping off her coat and sweater."

Mrs. Keating was originally found by Ironton Police Department officials inside the real estate office "attempting to discard evidence" of shell casings, IPD detective Capt. Chris Bowman said.

The .38-caliber handgun, considered by police the one used in the shooting, was found just outside a door of the business, Bowman said.

Mrs. Keating had entered the business and discharged six shots at her employer, according to police reports.

Of the six shots, five were fired at Mrs. Dickens’ back and the sixth shot was discharged when Mrs. Dickens turned around, according to the criminal affidavit filed by Bowman.

"She was later determined to have been grazed on the forehead by a bullet," he said.

Investigators are still uncertain as to the motive in the shooting.

Both women are business partners in a travel agency – American Dream Cruises – and suspect Mrs. Keating is an employee of the real estate business.