© 2024 WSKG

601 Gates Road
Vestal, NY 13850

217 N Aurora St
Ithaca, NY 14850

FCC LICENSE RENEWAL
FCC Public Files:
WSKG-FM · WSQX-FM · WSQG-FM · WSQE · WSQA · WSQC-FM · WSQN · WSKG-TV · WSKA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

WSKG thanks our sponsors...

Law enforcement detail evidence in driveway shooting trial

Andrew B. Gillis, right, father of slain daughter, Kaylin Gillis, is consoled outside the courtroom after a verdict was reached in the murder trial of Kevin Monahan on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, at Washington County Courthouse in Fort Edward, N.Y. A Washington County jury deliberated for just two hours before finding Kevin Monahan guilty of murder in the second degree in the driveway shooting death of 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis outside his rural Hebron home. The 66-year-old faces 25 years to life in state prison. (Will Waldron/Times Union)
Will Waldron/Times Union
/
Hearst Newspapers
Andrew B. Gillis, right, father of slain daughter, Kaylin Gillis, is consoled outside the courtroom after a verdict was reached in the murder trial of Kevin Monahan on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, at Washington County Courthouse in Fort Edward, N.Y. A Washington County jury deliberated for just two hours before finding Kevin Monahan guilty of murder in the second degree in the driveway shooting death of 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis outside his rural Hebron home. The 66-year-old faces 25 years to life in state prison. (Will Waldron/Times Union)

The trial of Kevin Monahan, who is accused of killing Kaylin Gillis by shooting at a car in his driveway last year, entered its seventh day Wednesday with more testimony from responding law enforcement officers.

The 66-year-old is facing second-degree murder, reckless endangerment in the 1st degree, and tampering with evidence charges. Prosecutors allege he shot at several vehicles that entered the driveway of his Hebron home on the night of April 15th, killing the 20-year-old Schuylerville woman. Monahan’s attorneys argue that he fired one shot in self-defense, and the second fatal shot was due to a malfunction of his gun.

1st Assistant District Attorney Chris Morris has called multiple first responders to the stand in recent days to testify on the care they gave to the dying Gillis as well as interactions between Monahan and law enforcement that night.

Washington County Sheriff Sergeant Christopher Murray explained the precautions responding officers took when interacting with Monahan. Officers yelled up to Monahan to come down from his porch to talk to them, which he refused to do, instead suggesting they come up.

Murray testified that officers waited to approach Monahan on his porch until Undersheriff John Winchell showed up due to potential safety risks. At no point did any officers on scene communicate that to Monahan.

District Attorney Tony Jordan called State Trooper Kolby Gabler to the stand Tuesday. Gabler, who photographed the scene of Gillis’s death as well as Monahan’s home, continued his testimony Wednesday morning.

Images of Gillis’ body covered with a tarp were shown to jurors. Pictures from within the car showed the shot that killed Gillis was fired after the car had already turned to go back down the driveway.

The shotgun that Monahan brought to his porch was displayed to the jury, and Gabler testified that while no fingerprints were found in key areas like on or around the trigger, there was enough DNA evidence to say that Monahan fired the gun.

Gabler testified that when they found the shotgun at Monahan’s bedside, it was unloaded. And he recounted the multiple failed attempts by law enforcement to find any evidence of the two shots – empty shells or wadding – on the property.

Gabler also reviewed photographs of the SUV that Gillis was in when she was fatally hit in the neck with a slug from Monahan’s 20-gauge shotgun.

The pictures outlined the apparent path the projectile took from the back left of the car through to the passenger side door.

On cross examination, defense attorney Art Frost questioned Gabler on the oils that were present on the gun as well as the inconsistent nature of fingerprinting as a means of identification. Gabler said a large number of factors contribute to whether or not a fingerprint is left on a surface – calling them “chance impressions.” 

Gabler said he has processed many guns without developing a full fingerprint and agreed that it is not surprising that he was unable to develop a full fingerprint from the gun’s trigger and trigger guard.

The state of Monahan’s shotgun is a key focus. The defense’s strategy revolves around an apparent malfunction of the gun where it can fire without the trigger being pulled. Frost argued during his opening statement that Monahan had accidentally hit the shotgun on his porch, causing it to fire the fatal shot.

Frost also questioned Gabler about the search process for any shells or wadding on the Monahans’ property – an area that’s about 60,000 square feet.

Gabler was also asked about the various marijuana and alcohol products that were found by police in the SUV.

The prosecution then called Dr. Michael Sikirica, who conducted the autopsy at Glens Falls Hospital. Sikirica explained some of his findings, including that Gillis’ spinal cord had been so damaged by the slug that she would have been unable to breathe.

State Police investigator Amanda Puckett was called to testify on her analysis of the crime scene using a laser scanner that recreated the Monahan property and estimated locations for where the SUV was when the fatal shot was fired.

Puckett concluded that the shot had to have been fired after the SUV had turned around and was leaving the property.

On cross examination, Frost questioned Puckett about the assumptions she needed to use in her calculations to draw the conclusion about where the SUV was when the second shot was fired. Frost asked whether Puckett was aware that some of the information she received came from the young men and women who were in the SUV who may have been impaired. Puckett said she was unaware that drugs or alcohol could have influenced their input.

State Police forensic investigator Victoria O’Connor testified on the various tests she ran the shotgun through. Under examination from Jordan, O’Connor explained that on one drop test, from four feet up with the muzzle facing the ground, the primer fired — meaning the test failed.

O’Connor said she was unsure whether she had engaged the safety prior to that test, and therefore ran it again. On cross examination Frost pressed O’Connor on whether she could say if the gun was faulty or not, but she said she couldn’t tell due to the inconclusiveness of the tests.

O’Connor did testify that it would have been impossible for the trigger to have been pulled, meaning the only force exerted on the gun’s mechanisms would have been due to gravity.