Busy day of testimony from accused killer’s wife, first-responders and police wraps up
Testimony for the week wrapped up late Friday afternoon in the trial of the Washington County man accused of shooting and killing Kayin Gillis in his driveway last April.
Jurors heard from his wife, two first-responders, three neighbors and three police officers before adjourning. They will not return until Tuesday of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday.
Kevin Monahan, 66, has been charged with second-degree murder.
The morning got off to an interesting start with the continuation of testimony from Monahan’s wife, Jinx Monahan, about what happened on the night of April 15, 2023.
Judge Adam Michelini granted a request by First Assistant District Attorney Christian Morris to treat Jinx Monahan like a hostile witness.
This request followed her testimony when being cross-examined by defense attorney Arthur Frost. She said her husband woke her up that night because he heard a motorcycle, and he told her to stay away from the windows. She got into a closet.
When Frost asked why, she said, “I was afraid. I was petrified.”
She also said Kevin was her ”protector.”
After Frost concluded with his questions, Morris raised his objection. He said on direct examination, Jinx Monahan’s answers were timid. Her voice was quiet. On cross-examination, Morris said she is ”confident, speaking up to every response to Mr. Frost’s questions.”
During her testimony to the grand jury, she could not remember much and had to rely on notes. When speaking to Frost, Morris said that Jinx Monahan is giving what “seems to be very rehearsed answers.”
The jury was excused.
Frost said that Jinx was not evasive in her answers to Morris.
“She has answered all of his questions without hemming or hawing or hedging in any way,” Frost said.
Michelini said he compared what Jinx Monahan said on the stand with her testimony before the grand jury, which he said was “unlike any I had ever seen.”
“I didn’t really understand what was going on. I wonder if she had cognitive issues,” Michelini said. “I thought did she have cognitive issues or was she being evasive.”
He also added that Jinx Monahan seems to be able to “turn on and off” her demeanor as a meek old woman. Her testimony in court was vastly different in tone.
“Her fears were greatly exaggerated. She repeatedly said Mr. Monahan was her protector. She never said anything like that before,” Michelini said.
Monahan was listed as a defense witness as well and Michelini asked Frost if they met with her.
“I don’t believe I should be required to answer that question,” Frost said.
He said Jinx was under no obligation to meet with the prosecutors.
Back on the stand, Morris asked whether she could remember what her husband had told her when he came back from inside. She said she could not.
She also confirmed that she did meet with the defense before the trial. She declined to meet with prosecutors.
When Morris asked how often the gun was used for protection, she said maybe a couple of times a year. She said he uses it to shoot woodchucks, gray squirrels and said “numerous vehicles,” but then quickly said animals.
First responders detail scene
After Jinx Monahan’s testimony, the jury heard from two first responders. Steven Saunders said he was at a friend’s house and heading back home when he received the call to go to Cemetery Road. When he arrived, he checked for a pulse and did not find any.
Then, jurors heard from paramedic Peter Simoneau II, of the Cambridge Valley Rescue Squad, who said he also checked for a pulse in three locations. Simoneau said a cardiac monitor detected no signs of heart activity. There was a very large open neck wound and a “massive” amount of blood loss in the area.
“Based on those three factors, we decided not to continue with life-saving measures,” Simoneau said.
Police were then called to the scene. Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Corbert Sullivan said he was asked to report to the State Police barracks in Greenwich. He photographed the Jeep Compass, the second vehicle involved in the incident. He and a State police investigator rode with one of Kaylin Gillis’ friends back to Patterson Hill Road so he could identify the victim.
That prompted an objection from defense attorney Frost. Before the trial started, both sides mutually agreed not to use the term “victim.” The defense was concerned because the word connotes that a crime has been committed.
The jury was excused and Morris said he would address the issue.
ADA Morris said he spoke with his witnesses ahead of time about not using the term.
“I have spoken to them all before, but I should at least speak to them before they take the stand,” he said.
After a brief recess, Morris asked Sullivan about what happened next. He said he brought the friend back to the State Police station and returned to Cemetery Road to relieve the deputy that had secured the scene. That was at about 4 a.m.
On cross-examination, Frost showed pictures and asked Sullivan multiple questions about the Monahan driveway. The driveway was in a rural area that was off a dirt road.
However, Frost asked if the house is clearly visible from Patterson Hill Road. Sullivan said yes.
There were “no trespassing” signs visible where Monahan’s driveway intersected with Patterson Hill Road. Sullivan agreed that that was an accurate depiction of the driveway.
Frost asked him about whether he saw that the mailbox was reflective.
“I honestly didn’t notice,” he said.
Sullivan said the State Police Special Operations Response Team (SORT) was at the Monahan house by that point when he returned.
The trial was scheduled to resume around 1 p.m. after a lunch break.
This is a developing story. Testimony has resumed. Check back at WNYT.com and our newscasts for updates.