Neighbors: Family of Beaufort woman charged with attempted murder 'very private'

achristnovich@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 13, 2013 

Alice Boland

Francis Marion Circle cuts a mile-long loop around the Royal Pines neighborhood on Lady's Island and is ringed by tidy homes and the longleaf and slash pines from which the subdivision takes its name.

Residents wave to passing cars and bicyclists. Joggers and neighbors walking their dogs pass frequently.

Until this past week, so did a 28-year-old woman sometimes heard yelling into her cellphone or seen shaking her fist at a passing vehicle as she walked along the street where she lived.

Despite behavior Alice Boland's neighbors found odd, many say they were surprised when she was arrested Feb. 4 outside a private school in downtown Charleston and charged with attempted murder.

"Most of us in the neighborhood realized she might've had a little bit of a mental problem," neighbor Sue Jarrett said. "I didn't think anything like that might be happening with her."

Boland also is charged with four firearm violations after witnesses say she appeared outside Ashley Hall, pacing and muttering. As a school employee approached her, and about 50 children milled about a car-pool area nearby, Boland removed a .22-caliber semiautomatic handgun from her purse and pulled the trigger repeatedly, according to Charleston police.

There was no round in the chamber, and the gun did not fire, authorities have said.

Boland remains at the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center in Charleston, with bail set at $900,000.


Before her arrest, Boland lived in the Francis Marion house with her parents, Don and Dellann, for most of her life. The family purchased the house in 1993, according to county property records.

There were brief exceptions, however.

Boland spent brief stints in college in the early 2000s, according to court records. The records also indicate she has been diagnosed and treated in mental-health facilities in Texas and South Carolina in the past 10 years.

One stay at a mental facility occurred in 2005 after she pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to a federal charge of threatening to shoot and kill then-President George W. Bush.

Although some neighbors said rumors floated around Francis Marion Circle about Alice Boland's alleged threat, the stories went unconfirmed until last week.

"You'd hear something -- it kind of gets rumored around the neighborhood -- and you see some deputy sheriff cars out there or there was a rumor Secret Service was there," Jarrett said. "We didn't think anything about it. ... We thought maybe someone overheard her say something and just took it the wrong way."

Among the people who live immediately around them, the Bolands are said to be cordial but quiet and private.

"I think they mostly keep to themselves," said resident Jack Mayers, who lives less than a quarter-mile away from the Bolands, around a bend on Francis Marion Circle.

Jarrett agreed, adding she often has friendly chats with Dellann.


Many neighbors recall Alice and her younger sister, Janie, practicing tennis -- both were accomplished junior players -- at the courts at Royal Pines Country Club, also on Francis Marion Circle.

"I knew she practiced really super hard at Royal Pines with her parents," Beaufort High School tennis coach David Reidmayer said.

Reidmayer said he never coached the Bolands' daughters but saw them play in tournaments.

"(Alice) was very intense," Reidmayer said. "She did try to use intimidation with her opponents instead of just playing the game."

Cindy Newman, who also saw Boland play, said she remembers seeing the Boland sisters practice with their father "before they could even see over the net."

"They were good players," she said. "Very focused."

It's not clear if Alice played for a high school team at any point. Beaufort County School District records indicate Alice Boland was enrolled at Beaufort High in the 1999-2000 school year, according to district spokesman Jim Foster. It's not clear if she was home-schooled or attended a different school before or after. Federal court records state Boland was attending the College of Charleston by the time she was 17 years old.

Most neighbors could not recall seeing Janie Boland for several years and were unsure where she is living.


Dellann Boland said Tuesday she, her husband and Alice have been directed by their legal advisers not to speak to the media and declined to comment.

However, Dellann Boland told The (Charleston) Post and Courier in an article published Saturday that her daughter purchased the gun used in the Ashley Hall incident with an old check she took from their house.

"The salesperson saw that the name on the driver's license did not appear on the account, but he allowed the sale," Dellann Boland said in an email to the Post and Courier, in which she asserted the Walterboro gun shop that sold the .22-caliber Taurus to her daughter should have been more vigilant.

Mayers said the accusations against Boland don't make him feel any less safe in his neighborhood, but he was surprised by the lengths she allegedly followed to purchase the gun and get to Ashley Hall school.

"How did she get a hold of an automobile?" Mayer said. "I think she belongs somewhere, but that somewhere is not down the street."

Related content

  1. Beaufort woman accused of attempted murder won't face federal charges, Feb. 8, 2013
  2. Gun used by Lady's Island woman in attempted school shooting purchased legally, police say, Feb. 6, 2013
  3. Longtime Beaufort tennis player accused of attempted murder, Feb. 5, 2013

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