FIRST ON 13: Police ‘didn’t feel safe’ at home of Kaylin Gillis’ accused killer
FORT EDWARD – A police officer testifying at a hearing seeking to suppress statements made by the man accused of shooting and killing Kaylin Gillis said they “didn’t feel safe” going up to Kevin Monahan’s home when they were trying to interview him.
Wearing a dark suit and tie, Monahan appeared in Washington County Court on Thursday for a suppression hearing. His attorneys are asking the court to exclude statements he made to police on the night of the shooting on April 15. Monahan allegedly fired two shots at vehicles that had turned down his driveway on Patterson Hill Road after young adults looking for a friend’s house mistook it for a dirt road. One of the shots struck and killed Gillis, 20, of Schuylerville.
First up, Granville Village Police Officer Mark Nelson said that police received a call at around 9 that night to respond to a victim of a gunshot on Cemetery Road. Then, he received word on the scanner that there was another scene at 1263 Patterson Hill Road.
Nelson described it as a dirt road. After traveling about 50 yards up the road, he stopped the patrol car at a curve. He testified that the house was completely dark. Police used the car’s headlights as well as a spotlight to illuminate the house.
A couple minutes later, they observed the lights get turned on and observed a man walking inside.
Nelson said he and another officer yelled up at Monahan to come down and talk to them. He asked what they were doing there and said he was not coming down. He came back outside and told them again he wasn’t coming down. He said “you guys can come up here.”
Nelson testified that they contacted dispatch and Monahan asked her why there were police at his residence.
Nelson told the dispatcher to tell Monahan that they were checking on a noise complaint, to which Monahan responded “there’s hunters and dogs in the area all the time.”
Nelson said they kept their patrol car in the driveway.
“We didn’t feel safe to go up to the house,” he said.
Defense attorney Arthur Frost asked if there were any flashing lights and sirens because Monahan can’t know for sure that they are the police.
Nelson responded that they had their firearms drawn – 40 caliber Glocks.
“We continued to identify ourselves as police officers,” he said.
Frost asked if any other officers spoke to Monahan. He said no.
Frost also asked Nelson if at any point, they saw Monahan with a weapon.
“I did not,” Nelson responded.
When Frost asked about why they told dispatch to lie to Monahan and say they were investigating a noise compliant, Nelson said they were trying to deescalate the situation.
Frost asked if was fair to say that Monahan would not be allowed to leave the property.
“If he came down to us, we would take him into custody,” Nelson said.
He continued to testify that he did not hear anyone read Monahan his Miranda rights or anyone say “you’re not in trouble.”
Nelson said that there was a mention of Monahan saying he wanted to call an attorney.
The second witness was Cambridge-Greenwich Police Officer Jason Nusbaum, who told the court that he pulled up to the wrong house initially. He then retrieved his rifle from the trunk. Emergency lights were off but a spotlight was directed at his house.
“I could see it pretty clearly. Lights on inside and out. It was lit up pretty well,” he said.
Monahan then stepped out and said “hello.” Nusbaum yelled up to him to put his hands up and come down and he said no. He told police he had an open phone line and was agitated.
Nusbaum then said he told Monahan that police would be there until he came down and Monahan said he needed to call his lawyer.
When Frost asked Nusbaum if Monahan was considered a suspect, the officer responded yes. Also, Nusbaum said he perceived Monahan going back inside his home as a threat because of what could happen when he came back out.
Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Murray said he first responded to Cemetery Road, where Gillis’ friends had drive to find a cell signal so they could call for help. He said he saw the young adults and the victim.
He then headed over to Patterson Hill Road. Murray said after some time, he was able to approach Monahan and his wife. Murray described having a “calm and civil conversation” with them. He asked for basic information including his date of birth.
Monahan’s attorney, Kurt Mausert, was on the speaker phone and told Murray and the undersheriff that his client is still confused why law enforcement is on the scene and asked them to leave. Murray said they are not leaving and they are going to obtain a search warrant.
Eventually, Monahan and his wife, Jinx Monahan, are detained and put into the back of Washington County Sheriff’s vehicle.
The last witness of the day was New York State Police Sgt. Michael Muise.
Frost asked every witness whether they recalled if Monahan’s Miranda rights were read.
Frost told NewsChannel 13’s Tessa Bentulan that he was pleased with how the hearing went. He called it a “tragic case.”
“There is no happy ending here. Doesn’t matter what the verdict is, what the outcome is. These people are never getting their daughter back. Mr. Monahan is going to have to live with the outcome no matter what it is,” he said.
Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan also responded to the day’s hearing.
“The court has hours of body camera and 911 calls. They’ll review them. Defense will make their submissions, and we’ll respond and the court will make a decision,” he said.
This is one of several pretrial hearings that will be held. Monahan’s attorneys have filed other motions seeking to have evidence taken at the scene and from his car excluded at trial and to prevent admission of his prior acts.
A trial has been scheduled for Oct. 30.
Monahan has been charged with second-degree murder, reckless endangerment and tampering with evidence. The tampering charge stems from allegations that Monahan removed a shell casing at the scene.
Check back at wnyt.com and the afternoon newscasts for more on this hearing.