Timeline of driveway shooting trial’s key events

Kevin Monahan, 66, of Hebron, is being sentenced Friday after being convicted of shooting and killing 20-year-old Schuylerville resident Kaylin Gillis, who was a passenger in a vehicle that had turned around his driveway on April 15, 2023. Here is a timeline of key events during the trial:

Monday, Jan. 8: Prosecutors, defense attorneys and the judge begin screening half of the 500 jurors summoned who had expressed some issue on their questionnaire.

Wednesday, Jan. 10: A jury of nine men and three women is seated. Three women and one man are picked to serve as alternates. (Two male jurors will be dismissed during the trial for illness, which makes the final breakdown seven men and five women.)

Thursday, Jan. 11: Opening arguments begin. First Assistant District Attorney Christian Morris begins by quoting a line that Monahan said to dispatchers on that night regarding the police presence. “I wish they’d get out of my yard so I can go back to bed.” He also says the events of the case transpired in less than 5 minutes on the night of April 15, 2023. A group of teens looking for a party had gotten lost and turned around in Kevin Monahan’s driveway. Monahan fires two shots and the second bullet kills Kaylin Gillis. Defense attorney Arthur Frost said the shooting was an accident involving “a dumb, scared old man with a defective gun that will shoot when no one pulls the trigger.”

Jan. 11 (afternoon): Monahan’s wife, Jinx Monahan, testifies for the prosecution. Her voice is timid and her answers are short, recalling the events of that night.

Jan. 12: (morning): On cross-examination, Jinx says that she was “petrified” and her husband his her “protector.” The prosecutor says the answers sound “rehearsed” and is granted permission to treat her as a hostile witness on re-direct, but do not elicit much new information from her. 

Jan. 12 (afternoon): First-responders testify about responding to the scene on Cemetery Road, where the friends had driven to get a cell signal. Police also testify the efforts to get Kevin Monahan to come down his driveway and talk to them. Police tell them they are there to investigate a noise complaint. He tells them that he has been asleep and there have been hunters out there shooting at night.

Jan. 18: Kaylin Gillis’ boyfriend and friends recall the events of that night. Their testimony is consistent with each other as they recounted the harrowing details of hearing gunshots, realizing that Gillis had been shot and driving miles down the road to get a cell signal before getting through to the dispatch center. The dispatcher instructs them how to perform CPR. A paramedic arrives and realizes there is nothing that can be done to save Gillis.  

Jan. 19: Kevin Monahan takes the stand in his own defense. Monahan claims he was awakened to the sound of a motorcycle revving its engine. He sees it is far up his driveway. Monahan said he gets really nervous because sees two SUVs parked side by side at the bottom of his driveway. He said he believes they are being invaded.

Monahan said he fires a warning shot to convince them to leave. He said he slipped on nails protruding from his deck as he was walking along the porch. Monahan struck the railing and the gun discharged. He said he did not mean to fire the second, fatal shot. He claims that knowing he killed someone has left a “hole” in him and his “soul is dead.” On cross-examination, Morris particularly attacks Monahan’s statement that he fired the gun to start a dialogue. He admitted that he did not tell the truth to police.  

Jan. 23 (morning and afternoon): Closing arguments are held in the case. Both sides restate their opening arguments. Defense attorney Arthur Frost claims it was a tragic accident involved a scared couple and a defective gun.

“Maybe you will think that it was dumb for him to go outside instead of calling 911, and maybe it was. And maybe you will think he was dumb to go outside with a loaded shotgun, and maybe it was. And maybe you will think it was dumb for him to be walking along that rail, and maybe it was. We have a word for that. That word is not ‘reckless.’ That word is ‘negligent.’”

The prosecution’s closing arguments lasts for 2 ½ hours. He shows a picture of Monahan’s deck with no protruding nails. He points out that he lied to officers about what had happened. “He’s anything but confused. He knows what just happened.”

Jan. 23, 4 p.m.: The jury comes back to request the legal definition of second-degree of murder and manslaughter and also for a readback of testimony in which Jinx Monahan said that her husband shoots at small varmints like squirrels and “small vehicles.” It is not known if she misspoke regarding the comment about vehicles.

4:27 p.m.: Monahan is found guilty of second-degree, reckless endangerment and tampering with physical evidence.

March 1: Monahan is sentenced to the maximum sentence allowed — 25 years to life on the murder charge and another 1 1/3 to 4 years on the tampering with physical evidence charge to run consecutively for a maximum potential sentence of 26 to 29 years to life in prison. A reckless endangerment sentence runs concurrently to the murder sentence.