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Crime News Crimes Of The '90s

Who Is Regina Keegan, The Witness Who Changed The Course Of Lorena Bobbitt’s Trial?

Prosecutor Paul Ebert was apparently so moved by Regina Keegan's story that he sent her to one of Lorena Bobbitt's attorneys.

By Gina Tron
Regina Keegan, testifying at Lorena Bobbitt's trial

Regina Keegan wanted to hug Lorena Bobbitt, despite the fact she gave her a bad manicure and uneven eyebrows. That nail appointment in the early 1990s may have very well ended up saving Bobbitt from spending years behind bars as Keegan later played a pivotal role in Bobbitt's trial.

Keegan scheduled an appointment to get a manicure and her eyebrows waxed by Bobbitt on Thursday, June 17. 1993. That’s just days before Bobbitt, then 22, cut off her husband’s penis and then threw it out of a car window. She said it was a reaction to physical abuse and rape.

Keegan explained in  Amazon’s newly released docu-series, “Lorena,” that when she made the appointment over the phone, she wrote down the name Lena in her planner and when she met Bobbitt she continued calling her Lena instead of Lorena.

The manicurist, Lorena Bobbitt, never corrected her.

“She’s too polite,” Keegan explained. So, we sat down and she pulled up her sleeves and she was black and blue from here to here [her forearms], like bruises. And, they weren’t just a hit, they went around.”

Keegan said that she audibly gasped at the sight of the injuries and that Bobbitt responded to that gasp by recoiling and covering up the bruises with her sleeves.

“And she just looked up and my heart broke,” Keegan said. “I just knew something was wrong with this girl.”

Keegan asked Bobbitt where the bruises came from and recalled Bobbitt told her, “my husband hurt me,” claiming that John Wayne Bobbitt held her over a railing in their home, and allegedly told her that if he dropped her he’d just tell everybody she jumped.

Keegan said she offered Bobbitt a place to stay but that her husband would kill her if she left, and kill Keegan too.

“I gave her a hug and it was like hugging my daughter, that’s how small she was,” Keegan said in the docu-series, crying. “And, I didn’t want to leave her because I was really afraid for her.”

The call 

After the appointment, she said she’d overhear stories of “the crazy lady with the knife,” but didn’t watch much television or news so she didn’t put two and two together: that the “crazy lady” was her manicurist. And, all the while, Bobbitt’s sanity was being debated by both experts and media personalities alike.

Then, one day, five months after the incident, Keegan was folding socks with the television on. A news program about John Wayne Bobbitt’s sexual assault trial was on and that’s when Keegan recognized the scared woman who did her nails.

She called the courthouse and talked to Paul Ebert, Prince William County's top prosecutor.

“I told him the story,” she said.

“That son of a bitch,” she claimed Ebert said. “If I had this I could have nailed that bastard.”

It was too late, he said for John Bobbitt’s trial. He had been acquitted of sexual assault.  

But, Ebert instead gave Keegan the number for Blair Howard, one of Bobbitt’s attorneys.

“He could have buried me,” she recalled. “He could have just said goodbye Mrs. Keegan, thank you for calling. He was the one that said you can’t help me but you can help Lorena and you call Mr. Howard.”

That call may have, in the long run, saved Bobbitt from years behind bars.

The trial

Keegan testified at Bobbitt’s trial, stating that she was short of breath when she did her manicure, a manicure she called “very bad” and a waxing which left her with uneven eyebrows.

“Her hands were trembling and she had tears in her eyes,” she testified.

Keegan testified that when she told Bobbitt she should get help, Bobbitt responded became “more frightened in appearance.”

“To me,” she testified, “she appeared terrified.”

That testimony helped show that Bobbitt was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Ebert didn’t just help Keegan testify for the defense.

She said that when she finished testifying she and Ebert locked eyes “and in that moment he decided, ‘I’m not even going to touch her.’”

He didn’t ask her any questions, despite being a prosecutor on the case.

Furthermore, Keegan claims that Ebert helped get Dr. Miller Ryans, state forensic psychiatrist, to change his testimony about Bobbitt in the middle of the trial.

“He told that psychiatrist to call me,” Keegan claims. “I know he did because the psychiatrist said Mr. Ebert told me to call you and speak with you.”

During the trial, Ryans repeated excerpts of the conversation that Bobbitt had with Keegan at the nail salon. Ryans explained that during that appointment, Bobbitt was exhibiting signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. That contradicts prior assessments of her that she was spiteful and full of rage.

Bobbitt was ultimately found not guilty of malicious wounding due to temporary insanity.