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Grand jury indicts Keating

Prosecutors secured a felony indictment Tuesday against Elizabeth A.

Wednesday, January 10, 2001

Prosecutors secured a felony indictment Tuesday against Elizabeth A. Keating after presenting evidence to the Lawrence County Grand Jury.

Mrs. Keating, employee of M&M Realty-Appraisals, is accused in the Jan. 2 shooting injury of her partner and co-worker, Debra Dickens.

Reviewing only two cases Tuesday, grand jurors returned an indictment against Mrs. Keating, charging her with first-degree felony attempt to commit aggravated murder, county prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr. said.

Collier expects the case to progress quickly.

Unless Mrs. Keating waives her rights, or does something herself to cause a delay, a trial must come within 90 days.

"I guess there will be a question of competency that might slow it down," he said.

Defense attorney Mark McCown has said that Mrs. Keating’s collapse and hospitalization after last week’s arraignment, coupled with her background indicate she could be suffering from a mental illness.

Also, Mrs. Keating’s public image – a Sunday school teacher, loyal friend and longtime business partner of Mrs. Dickens – doesn’t add up when considering the charges against her, McCown said.

If a competency evaluation is sought, there must be reports, hearings and a determination, which could push any trial to mid-spring, Collier said.

Collier said he will argue that Mrs. Keating planned the attempted murder of Mrs. Dickens.

Investigators have said the motive in the shooting appears financial in nature.

"But there’s a lot more to this case than one indictment," Collier said. "And we anticipate further grand jury consideration."

The Ironton Police Department also is investigating a complaint filed Friday against Mrs. Keating by the Ironton Band Boosters. She serves as treasurer of the group.

Collier said evidence relating to that complaint was not presented to the grand jury Tuesday.

"I felt that it was premature, absent all the books and financial records," he said.

As filed, an indictment represents only a formal charge and does not indicate a court judgment.