Police say interviews show son, grandson showed no emotion when learning of woman's murder

March 13, 2018 06:42 PM

Police asked Gordon Twiss to talk to them about his deceased mother, Leona Twiss, in the hours after an autopsy showed she was strangled to death inside her Fort Ann home.

"She gave me a hard time sometimes," Gordon said about his mother.

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Family members initially told police the 95-year old woman, who suffered from dementia, died of natural causes.

After the autopsy, police arrested the two people who were living with and caring for her, Kevin Gonyea and his wife, Melissa.

Gonyea was Twiss's grandson. He wrapped a towel around her neck and choked her to death. His wife helped by disposing of the murder weapon.

However, police also suspected involvement by others of Leona Twiss's relatives. Namely, her son, Gordon Twiss, and his son, David Twiss, who are now charged with conspiracy.

Prosecutors say the woman's relatives viewed her as a burden.

Copies of police interviews with Gordon and David Twiss, obtained by NewsChannel 13, show investigators were suspicious because they felt both men showed no emotion when they learned their loved one had been strangled to death.

David Twiss, a retired corrections lieutenant, stayed out of the view of the camera as New York State Police Investigator Chris Lapham asked him questions.

Investigator Lapham: "You ever talk to Kevin in regards to, you know, 'I did 27 years in a prison, this is how inmates would do it?' Ever showed him how to put a towel around someone's neck and twist it?

David Twiss: "No."

Investigator Lapham: Never once? Twiss: "No."

Gordon Twiss told police that when he saw his deceased mother lying in bed with blood all over her face, he never thought to ask what caused the bleeding or even how she died.

"I saw blood coming out, wasn't coming out, but I saw blood all over her face and her nose, and from her mouth," Gordon Twiss told investigators. "Maybe I'm coldhearted, I don't know, but I'm telling you I didn't ask any questions."

If the Twiss men are convicted of conspiracy, they face up to 8 and 1/3 to 25 years in prison.

Kevin Gonyea pleaded guilty to murder and is expected to be sentenced to 15-years-to-life in prison.


Mark Mulholland

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