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Grand jury might hear shooting case

Prosecutors expect a grand jury to hear evidence today against Elizabeth A.

Tuesday, January 09, 2001

Prosecutors expect a grand jury to hear evidence today against Elizabeth A. Keating, the Ironton woman accused in last Tuesday’s alleged shooting and assault of an Ironton real estate agent, while police continue their evidence investigation.

Mrs. Keating was charged with attempted aggravated murder for allegedly discharging a .38-caliber revolver at Debra Dickens, owner of M&M Realty-Appraisals, 407 Railroad St.

"It’s our hope we will have a grand jury and that the case will be presented ," Lawrence County prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr. said. "The first case that will be presented will be Mrs. Keating’s."

Collier said presenting the case to the grand jury before a scheduled preliminary hearing in Ironton Municipal Court saves the court steps in the legal process.

Preliminary hearings are held by lower courts to determine if there is sufficient evidence to bind the case over to a grand jury in a higher court, but the process can be bypassed, Collier said.

"We are optimistic that if they do meet, they will return an indictment," he said. "We feel this is obviously a very serious case, and this is an ongoing investigation concerning Mrs. Keating."

Other charges may be brought forward against Mrs. Keating, he added.

"We fully expect to bring further charges for grand jury consideration at a later date, which involves certain financial misconduct," Collier said. "Until such time, we believe Elizabeth Keating did, with prior calculation and design, purposely attempt to kill Debra Dickens."

But Mrs. Keating’s defense attorney, Mark McCown, said he believes her actions were not premeditated, suggesting the incident might have resulted from instability.

"You have a dedicated Sunday school teacher that has been a loyal friend and business partner for many years," McCown said. "Her collapse and subsequent hospitalization, after the initial appearance (arraignment), obviously indicate that she is suffering from a mental illness."

Mrs. Keating’s public image as compared to the alleged crime doesn’t add up, he said.

"I and nobody that knows Elizabeth Keating could possibly believe that she would be capable of doing any such act with ‘prior calculation and design,’" he said.