Judge in driveway shooting trial denies motion for mistrial
The judge on Tuesday denied a motion for a mistrial by the attorney representing the man accused of shooting and killing a woman in his driveway last April.
Kevin Monahan, 66, is charged with second-degree murder for shooting and killing Kaylin Gillis, 20, when a car she was riding in accidentally turned up his driveway in Hebron.
At issue was body camera footage played when police were approaching Kevin Monahan at his Hebron home.
Washington County Undersheriff John Winchell and Sgt. Christopher Murray walk up Monahan’s driveway.
Winchell asks: “Kevin, what happened up here tonight?”
“Nothing that I know of. I was sound asleep,” Monahan responded.
They took some information from Monahan and his wife.
“You already got a hold of Mr. (Kurt) Mausert,” Winchell asked.
“He should be talking to you guys,” Monahan said.
Jinx Monahan also told police that they had no visitors the entire evening.
“We were sleeping, and a light shined through the window,” she said.
The jury was excused and after a brief break. Defense attorney Arthur Frost made his motion for a mistrial on the grounds that the jury knows that Mausert is his attorney. He cited previous case law said that could indicate consciousness of guilt.
Frost said there have been many times during this trial where the judge has introduced the participants.
“They know who Mr. Mausert is. They know he’s Mr. Mausert’s counsel,” he said.
Frost said there’s “no un-ringing the bell,” particularly in light of the prosecution’s assurance that they would not offer that testimony.
First Assistant District Attorney Christian Morris said he was muting any mention of the word “lawyer” out of an abundance of caution. The name was not muted.
Morris said this was the subject of a pre-trial. The defendant did not invoke his right to counsel when he needed to call his lawyer.
“This court says that under the totality of the circumstances, the defendant’s comment that he wanted to call his attorney was not an unequivocable invocation of his right to counsel,” Morris said.
Judge Adam Michelini sided with Morris and denied the motion.
After the jury was brought back, Michelini instructed them to disregard that comment. A person has the right to contact counsel when they are at their home.
“You must not make an unfair inference against Mr. Monahan based on that,” he said.
Michelini also said the jury “can also not take it into consideration as to consciousness of guilt.”