Large pool of jurors in driveway shooting trial sharply whittled down

For some people, the prospective of serving on the jury for the trial of the man accused of shooting and killing Kaylin Gillis hits a little too close to home – literally and emotionally.

“I live in Hebron. The night of the incident, I actually heard the gunshots. I didn’t know from where they were,” said one female prospective juror, who was excused from service.    

Kevin Monahan, 66, is standing trial on second-degree murder for allegedly killing Gillis, who was a passenger in a vehicle that had mistakenly gone up in his Hebron driveway last April.  

Over the last two days, an initial pool of 500 people being summoned to Washington County Court has been whittled down to over 100 as various people were excused because of information they put on their questionnaire that said they would have difficulty serving on this jury.  

Another woman who was also excused from service said she lives right by Cemetery Road in Salem, which is where Gillis’ friends called for help after she was shot. They had to drive several miles down the road to get cell service.  

“I saw the lights that night because I was with my dogs,” said the juror, who was also excused.  

She also had strong opinions about gun safety.  

“You don’t shoot it at anybody,” she said. 

Another prospective juror, who was also excused from service, had similar sentiments.  

“From the time I was in the service, I’ve always found out that basically you don’t aim a gun at somebody unless you’re out to kill them. Other than that, you don’t fire a weapon,” he said. 

“I don’t think I could find him not guilty if that’s what you’re asking.”  

When asked about her feelings about what she has heard about the case, one person said: “I live on a dead-end road. You do get jumpy when somebody comes out on your road and you don’t recognize the car.”  

Another woman who lives 10 minutes away from where the incident happened said it is more than just geography.  

“I also have two daughters of my own and I don’t really feel I can be nonbiased,” said one prospective juror, who was excused from service.  

One person said they had gone to school with Monahan and couldn’t be impartial.

A few people were excused because they belong to the Justice for Kaylin Facebook page.  

Others had simply made up their minds based upon information they gained from watching news coverage, scrolling through social media or talking with friends, family and neighbors. 

The case has attracted an enormous amount of media attention.  

“It’s hard to miss the story. I don’t watch the news and I don’t read the local papers, but it was in the national news,” said one man.  

Formal jury selection will get under way on Wednesday.

Kevin Monahan at a prior court appearance(File / WNYT)