Jury deliberations begin in driveway shooting trial
Jury deliberations began Tuesday afternoon in the driveway shooting trial.
Around 4 p.m., the jury asked for Judge Adam Michelini to explain the difference between murder and manslaughter.
They also wanted a readback of testimony in which JInx Monahan said that her husband shoots at small varmints like squirrels and “small vehicles.”
Kevin Monahan, 66, is on trial for second-degree murder for allegedly shooting and killing Kaylin Gillis in the driveway of his Hebron home last April.
The car Gillis was a passenger in had accidentally turned up Monahan’s driveway while Gillis and her friends were searching for a party.
Speaking to the jury for 49-minutes during closing arguments on Tuesday morning, defense attorney Arthur Frost reiterated the claim Monahan never pulled the trigger when the second shot went off. Monahan slipped and fell, said Frost, and the force of the drop caused the gun to fire on its own.
The prosecution said they tested that theory, but had a tough time getting the gun to fire on its own. However, admitted one time out of at least eight tests, it fired without the trigger being pulled.
The defense argues the prosecution didn’t test the gun under the same conditions, and dropped the gun on a cushioned mat instead of a hard deck.
“If I drop an egg on a pillow, there’s going to be a decidedly different result,” Frost argued in court on Tuesday.
One thing Frost made clear, Gillis and her friends were not to blame.
“If any one of them should blame themselves, they should stop right now because it wasn’t their fault,” he said.
However, Frost did question their recollections of that night.
“What is disturbing is that they are willing to change their stories to fit the prosecution’s narrative,” Frost said.
Frost reiterated Monahan’s concern about hearing vehicles turn up his driveway in a quiet neighborhood, late in the evening.
“Maybe you will think that it was dumb for him to go outside instead of calling 911, and maybe it was. And maybe you will think he was dumb to go outside with a loaded shotgun, and maybe it was. And maybe you will think it was dumb for him to be walking along that rail, and maybe it was,” said Frost. “We have a word for that. That word is not ‘reckless.’ That word is ‘negligent.’”
The prosecution in their closing arguments pointed out Monahan’s calmness after everything happened. The fact that he asked police to leave his property so he could go to bed. They said Monahan and his wife, Jinx, portrayed themselves as a confused, old couple, and said Monahan should have been much more shaken up – especially if he had just saved his wife’s life from intruders.
“He’s anything but confused. He knows what just happened,” prosecutor Christian Morris said.
Morris wondered if the events Monahan described were true, where was the shaking in his voice as he spoke to police that night.
A motion by the defense to have the jury also consider a criminally negligent homicide charge was dismissed by the judge. It would have meant 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison, compared to 25 to life for second-degree murder.
NewsChannel 13 is in court. We will have updates on WNYT.com throughout the afternoon and our newscasts starting Live at 4.