Police videos offer insight in Washington County murder investigation

October 02, 2017 07:30 PM

FORT EDWARD - Police videos obtained by NewsChannel 13 reveal the heart of the investigation into the death of Leona Twiss.

First thought to be due to natural causes, an autopsy showed the 95-year-old's throat had been crushed. Police say her grandson and caretaker, 50-year-old Kevin Gonyea, used a towel to do it.

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Police bodycam video shows Gonyea being accompanied to the Washington County Sheriff's Office to answer some questions. Inside an interview room, the camera is rolling as John Winchell, the county undersheriff and Kevin Notto, a state police investigator listen as Gonyea describes finding Twiss in bed, bloodied and unresponsive.

"So I went in to shake her and no nothing. I said this ain't good," Gonyea is heard telling police.

During a several hour interview, police tell Gonyea that the story doesn't make sense.

Notto asks him if he ended his grandmother's life to take her pain away.

"And it's killing me to hear you say that and I know that's your job, but I didn't," said Gonyea with his voice trailing off as he cries.

Meanwhile, in another interview room, police are talking to Gonyea's wife, Melissa, who is first telling the same story as her husband.

But State Police Investigator David Mosher gets her to tell him what she knows.

"It's done," she told Mosher what her husband said after he came back into their bedroom. "He was crying. He had the towel in his hands. He wadded it up and he told me to get rid of it. I said, "Do you want me to throw it in the trash? No. Take it up the mountain."

So while the interview of Kevin Gonyea is continuing, police have Melissa show them where they threw the towel.
Police body camera video shows what it looked like as they recovered it. "Yeah. And it says Florida on it," Melissa Gonyea said when investigators asked her if they had the alleged murder weapon.

Back in the interview room, Investigator Mosher and Melissa Gonyea tell Kevin Gonyea that she told them what she knows because she feared she'd go to prison.

"Why you gonna go to prison? Did you do it? No, Melissa said.

Kevin replies, "Okay then. You ain't going to prison. I damn sure didn't f---ing do it. Get over it," Kevin Gonyea shouts.

Both Gonyeas are being held in the Washington County Jail.


Mark Mulholland

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