Monahan defense attorney plans appeal, blasts judge’s decisions, remarks

One of Kevin Monahan’s attorneys called the judge’s remarks a “campaign speech” after his client was sentenced to 25 years to life for murder.

Attorney Kurt Mausert took issue with the way Judge Adam Michelini conducted the trial.

“I think every mistake he could make in terms of erring against the defense, he did,” Mausert said.

Michelini had harsh comments for Monahan, who was convicted of shooting and killing Kaylin Gillis in his driveway last April. Michelini said Monahan lied in a “cold and calculating manner” and did not take any responsibility for his actions.

Mausert reiterated that Michelini’s first comments to him before his client was arraigned was that this was a simple case. Mausert said no homicide case is simple – certainly not this one where there were dozens of witnesses and hundreds of exhibits.

Among the issues that could be raised on appeal is Michelin denied the defense’s request to use expert witnesses, according to Mausert. They had wanted a witness to testify to their client’s state of mind.

Michelini also denied their request to allow the jury to consider the lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide, which would have carried a significantly lesser sentence.

During the trial, Michelini at one point asked if people had wanted to object to a line of questioning and severely limited defense counsel’s right to cross-examine, according to Mausert. 

He said he does not want his concerns about the trial to distract from the Gillis’ family sense of closure. Closure is an artificial term.

“There’s no such thing as closure with grief. As long as there’s love, there will be grief. I learned that when my own brother was murdered in 1979 and I’ve lived with that since then,” he said.

Albany-based attorney Matthew Hug will be handling the appeal.

Monahan’s other trial attorney, Arthur Frost, said he believes there are strong grounds. He does not believe defense team was lagging in anyway but he was fine if Monahan made that point.

“If he wants to throw us under the bus, do it. He’s fighting for his life,” he said.