Fort Ann man accused of strangling grandmother weighs 22 years to life offer

January 09, 2018 06:30 PM

FORT EDWARD - After a day of negotiations and discussions Tuesday, Kevin Gonyea did not plead guilty to murdering his 95-year-old grandmother, Leona Twiss.

He's accused of choking Twiss to death in her Fort Ann home in July 2017.

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Gonyea has maintained his innocence since his arrest, telling police how much he loved his grandmother and could never hurt her.

Police contend that Gonyea used a towel to strangle Twiss as she lie in her bed.

Gonyea's wife, Melissa, led police to the wooded area in Fort Ann where she threw away the towel, telling police that he told her to get rid of it.

Mrs. Gonyea also told police that her husband said, "It's done," on the night of Twiss's death.

She pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and plans to testify against him if the case goes to trial.

"His concern is that Melissa got scared to death and said whatever she thought she was going to have to say in order to protect herself," Teresi said.

Teresi says police have the wrong guy. He says other relatives had the means and motive to kill Twiss.

District Attorney Tony Jordan isn't buying it.

"We wouldn't have indicted him if we didn't believe strongly in our case. Thanks to law enforcement who continues to uncover evidence, our case is even stronger now than when we indicted it," Jordan said.

The 50-year-old Gonyea has until next week to consider the offer of 22 to life or risk 25 to life at trial.

"This isn't a petty larceny case.There's a lot on the line. A lot of concerns. 25 to life is a long time," said Teresi.

Mrs. Gonyea pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution and evidence tampering and will be sentenced to 4-2/3 to 14 years if she cooperates in the prosecution of her husband.



Mark Mulholland

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