Wife pleads to role in alleged murder and plans to testify against husband

November 17, 2017 06:45 PM

FORT EDWARD - It wasn't until Kevin Gonyea got to court Friday for a pre-trial motions hearing, that he learned his wife plans to testify against him.

The 50-year-old Gonyea is accused of strangling his 95-year-old grandmother, Leona Twiss, in the bed of her Fort Ann home back in July.

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Gonyea's wife, Melissa, pleaded guilty Thursday to helping her husband dispose of the alleged murder weapon---a towel.

Prosecutors say Melissa Gonyea agrees to cooperate against Kevin Gonyea at trial.

"The way the deal is structured, she pled to every charge. In the event she decides not to or doesn't actually testify truthfully, she could receive up the to the maximum on the seven charges, which at this point would be a 10-20 years sentence," said Christian Morris, first assistant district attorney.

Morris says Mrs. Gonyea faces 4-2/3 to 14 years in prison if she testifies the way she's agreed to.

Police videos contained in the court file, copies of which were obtained by NewsChannel 13, show Mrs. Gonyea leading investigators to the discarded towel in the woods in Fort Ann.

Police interview videos also show that she told police that she didn't witness Twiss' death, but that she saw Kevin Gonyea come out of Twiss's bedroom with a towel and told her "it's done."

Police have investigated whether other relatives were involved in the murder.

Gonyea's attorney, Greg Teresi, says police have the wrong guy and investigators should be taking a harder look at other relatives of the deceased who had a motive to see Mrs. Twiss die.

Teresi said his client didn't have a reason to harm his grandmother. "The DA's office rushed to indict. There were stones left unturned and as a result, we've got an innocent man behind bars," 

"I would respectfully disagree, " said Morris. "The facts of this case will speak for themselves."

Teresi also questions why Melissa Gonyea pleaded guilty to the entire 7-count indictment, saying, "The justice system closed its eyes."

Teresi says Mrs. Gonyea's testimony won't hurt his client.

 "We're perfectly fine with her taking the stand. It isn't going to add value to the district attorney's case."


Mark Mulholland

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