Kaylin Gillis death: Man accused of killing woman in driveway says gun went off when he tripped on deck

Kaylin Gillis death: Man accused of fatally shooting woman in driveway says gun went off when he tripped on his deck
Kaylin Gillis was fatally shot in the neck by Kevin Monahan (Facebook, Washington County Sheriff's Office)

Warning: This article contains a recollection of crime and can be triggering to some, readers’ discretion advised.

WASHINGTON DC: Kevin Monahan, who had been living with the fact that he had accidentally fired the shotgun blast that killed Kaylin Gillis, 20, for nine months, testified, wiping away tears, that he felt as though his "soul is dead" during his murder trial on Friday.

Monahan, 66, stated on the witness stand in Washington County Court, "I took somebody else's life. Just horrible."

Monahan told the jury that when he pulled out his 20-gauge pump action shotgun to try to scare the group away on the evening of April 15, 2023, he felt as though he was "under siege" and facing an "invasion" outside his home on Patterson Hill Road in rural Hebron.

Prosecutors claim Kevin Monahan fired two shotgun blasts at SUV

Gillis and her friends turned around in his driveway after becoming lost, and prosecutors claim Monahan fired two shotgun blasts at an SUV, killing Gillis in the second of them. The woman from Schuylerville was hit in the neck by it.

Due to the armed home invasion that occurred close by and the theft of a safe from a neighbor's house, Monahan claimed he was always concerned about crime. Noting that while he and his spouse, Jinx Monahan, were alone at home, he said he was thinking of the worst-case scenario.

Under questioning from his lawyer, Arthur Frost, the salt-and-pepper-haired Monahan stated, "My only job is to protect my wife."

He was wearing a dark suit and tie. After firing a warning shot at the intruders outside his property, according to Monahan, they did not flee. Under cross-examination, he stated in his testimony that the shot was an attempt to strike up a discussion with the group.

“I wanted them to give me some indication of what their intent is,” Monahan testified and added, “The warning shot, to me, is almost like starting a dialogue.”

When he fired the warning shot, according to Monahan, he turned his back on them. Having never fired a shotgun at night before, he testified that he was shocked to see flame and sparks emerge from the weapon's end when he fired the warning shot.

“I just stood there looking at my shoulder at them to see what their reaction would be.” Monahan testified. “I heard one of them say, 'I think somebody is shooting at us',” he said.

First Assistant District Attorney Christian P Morris, taken aback, questioned Monahan about why he hadn't just told the group that he had fired the shot and was merely attempting to strike up a conversation.

He questioned Monahan about why he did not simply tell the group to leave his property or inquire as to whether they were lost. Monahan answered, “I thought if I said anything, it would potentially make the situation worse.”

Monahan said, "Well, I kind of think it depends on your perspective," in response to the prosecutor's suggestion that pulling a shotgun escalated the situation.

Kevin Monahan claimed he didn't intend to shoot

The fact that the cars were staying put made Monahan say he was still worried about a threat to his house. He claimed he was walking in flip-flops on his deck and attempting to aim the shotgun at the ground.

At that point, he claimed, he stumbled over some nails, lost his balance, and the shotgun hit the deck. According to him, it unintentionally set off his shotgun, which fired at the Ford Explorer carrying Gillis, her boyfriend Blake Walsh, and two friends.

Monahan stated in court, "I didn’t mean to shoot the second shot. The gun went off." Gillis's dad attended the testimony in court. “I’m going to ask you point blank: Did you pull that trigger?” Frost asked Monahan.“No, I did not,” Monahan replied.

The defendant stated that he believed the bullet would have gone behind the Ford Explorer due to the gun's angle. He claimed he checked to see if the shot had hit the SUV, but it continued to move slowly.

He reported not hearing any screaming or horn beeping. A State Police forensic scientist testified earlier this week that Monahan's testimony regarding the gun was untrue and that the weapon was operational the night he used it against Gillis and her friends.

When Frost found out that Monahan had killed Gillis, he asked him how he felt. Monahan sobbed and said, the incident left "a hole in me."

“It’s indescribable,” Monahan said. “I don’t even know how to respond. I just feel like my soul is dead.”

The prosecution claims that Monahan fired two shots at the Explorer that Walsh was driving, displaying a depraved disregard for human life. Two more people were in the back, including Gillis, who was seated in the passenger seat.

Around 9.50 pm, they and seven friends were riding a motorcycle and two SUVs in search of a friend's party nearby.

Blake Walsh stated being at the wrong place

On Thursday, Walsh and the other group members gave testimony stating that they knew they were in the wrong place and were getting ready to leave when Monahan started shooting. Morris asked Monahan to go over his account of the evening during cross-examination.

Monahan, a former professional motorcycle racer who currently works in construction, was questioned by the prosecutor regarding the sound of the motorcycle rider's revving.

According to Monahan, Rory Bain, the motorcyclist, was riding with a confidence that suggested he had been there before.

In his testimony, Monahan stated that he momentarily thought that additional bikers might be arriving and that he thought the motorcycle was a "scout." Monahan was questioned by the prosecutor about whether the motorcycle rider had given him the finger or flipped him off.

“You didn’t yell, ‘Hey, what are you doing’ did you?” Morris questioned Monahan. Monahan admitted that he hadn't asked the question.

According to Monahan's testimony, he went inside his house and held his wife after firing the shots. He claimed they spoke about the incident, but he kept the shotgun firing from his wife a secret.

The prosecutor reminded Monahan that he had claimed to have been "sound asleep" and that there had been hunters in the area during an eighteen-minute call to 911. Morris questioned Monahan about why he kept the incident a secret from the operator and the police.

With a straight face, Monahan replied, "I didn’t tell the truth." When Monahan finished testifying, the defense rested. On Monday, the attorneys will continue the trial by presenting their closing arguments.

Judge Adam Michelini of Washington County will then provide instructions to the jury before they start deliberations. 

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