Woman tied to Utah lawmaker scandal killed in murder-suicide

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 12, 2011 4:54 PM
Woman tied to Utah lawmaker scandal killed in murder-suicide

LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) - A woman whose allegations of sexual impropriety against a top Utah lawmaker led to his resignation was killed in an apparent murder-suicide over the weekend, authorities said on Tuesday.

Cheryl Maher, 41, was strangled and stabbed to death in New Hampshire by Jacob Geiser, her boyfriend's 18-year-old son, who later shot himself to death, the New Hampshire attorney general's office said in a statement.

The bodies were discovered on Sunday morning.

Maher went public last year with allegations that she and Utah House Majority Leader Kevin Garn bathed nude in a hot tub together in 1985, when she was 15 and he was 28 and married.

Garn, a Republican, confessed to the hot-tub incident in a speech before the legislature but said there was no sexual contact.

"I made a mistake that has come back to haunt me," Garn said at the time, according to a video of the speech posted on the Internet.

Garn resigned from the legislature and acknowledged that he had paid Maher $150,000 to keep quiet about the incident in 2002, when he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representatives.

A woman who answered the phone at Garn's residence in Layton, Utah said he was unavailable for comment.

(Reporting by Jason McLure; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Cynthia Johnston)