Home News Upstate New York: driveway shooting, a man was found guilty of murder

Upstate New York: driveway shooting, a man was found guilty of murder


On Tuesday, an upstate New York man was found guilty of second-degree murder for fatally shooting a young woman who was unwittingly driving up his driveway and mistakenly turning into his driveway.

On April 15, defendant Kevin Monahan fired two.20-gauge shotgun rounds, one of which struck Kaylin Gillis, 20, fatally wounding her in the neck and leading to her death shortly afterwards. She and a group of six friends had been searching for an address for a Saturday night party when they drove up Mr. Monahan’s half-mile driveway in Hebron, New York (55 miles north of Albany).

driveway shooting ny
driveway shooting ny

Mr. Monahan, 66, testified during the two-week trial that his fatal shot was accidental; that it fired spontaneously when he tripped on his porch and the gun discharged itself when it suddenly fired spontaneously after seeing a caravan of two cars and one motorcycle arrive late at night at his house. Initially he fired a warning shot after seeing this caravan arrive a short while before.

His lawyers described him as an elderly gentleman who had been sleeping when suddenly awakened with terror by “a group of marauders”, who attacked both himself and Jinx who was inside with them both carrying guns.

Authorities had expressed doubt about how dangerous Mr. Monahan might have felt on that night, given that vehicles were turning back around to leave again and turning off. Furthermore, prosecutors expressed deep skepticism of Mr. Monahan’s claim, noting in their closing statement on Tuesday that Mr. Monahan had displayed animus and callous disregard toward those who had ventured onto his property; interrupting his night and not leaving fast enough.

“Kevin Monahan did not act out of fear,” explained Christian P. Morris, first assistant district attorney of Washington County before an almost packed courtroom jury. “Rather, he displayed more visceral emotions such as anger.”

The jury appeared to reject Mr. Monahan’s explanation; within less than two hours they returned their three guilty verdicts for reckless endangerment and tampering with evidence, specifically related to his attempts at cleaning his shotgun after its use during shootings.

Prosecutors used body cam footage and 911 calls to demonstrate that Mr. Monahan and his wife initially misled authorities by falsely reporting no visitors after the shooting had taken place, as reported by Mr. Morris. Mr. Monahan appeared confused as to why neighbors heard gunshots, suggesting hunters might be prowling the woods nearby after dark.

“This whole affair is an absolute farce,” he declared.

Ms. Gillis’ death sent shockwaves through both her local community and across the nation, marking yet another random act of gun violence in an age when we have become all too used to seeing random shootings occur. Days earlier there had been another shooting in Kansas City, Mo. where an unarmed Black teenager approached an incorrect house while trying to collect his brothers.

Ms. Gillis’ friends testified to an intense scene on the night of her shooting: with sudden gunfire and fearful realizations that Ms. Gillis had been shot.

Moments after the shooting, the victim’s boyfriend desperately searched for an available cell phone signal in rural New York to contact 911, while others attempted CPR.

Mr. Monahan had earned himself an unfavorable reputation around town due to his tough personality, posting “private property” signs warning off any would-be intruders as well as placing an “exclusive drive” sign at the base of his driveway.

However, Mr. Monahan’s defense attorneys maintained that his shotgun fired on its own when he accidentally stumbled onto a nail on the porch wearing flip-flops; their claim was supported by one test conducted by New York State Police investigator where it discharged upon being dropped (though other tests failed to produce results).

Ms. Gillis, who had wanted to become a marine biologist, was greatly mourned by friends and family; many filled the courtroom during her trial; including Andrew Monahan himself who wanted to see harsh penalties meted out to Mr. Monahan.

“My only wish for him is that he dies in jail,” Mr. Gillis stated shortly after his daughter had been killed.

Donald W. Boyajian, representing the family, noted their relief and gratitude upon hearing of the verdict; yet still grieved their loss deeply. “Clearly it’s a just result, yet still very sad time for this family,” he noted.

Washington County district attorney J. Anthony Jordan stated after the verdict was rendered that Mr. Monahan had inflicted “unimaginable tragedy” upon Ms. Gillis’ family and friends, adding that this verdict represented one small step toward justice for each.

Mr. Monahan faces 25 to life imprisonment by judge Adam D. Michelini and awaits their decision on March 1.

Mr. Morris noted that Mr. Monahan was standing on an elevated porch, more than 20 feet above vehicles that were turning around approximately 80 feet away and taking different routes.

Mr. Morris claimed, “These were no threats or raiders, simply lost children.”

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