FORT EDWARD, N.Y. (AP) — The father whose 20-year-old daughter was fatally shot after she and her friends got lost and drove to the wrong house in rural upstate New York raged Wednesday at the man who pulled the trigger.
“For this man to sit on his porch and fire at a car with no threat is just … it angers me so badly,” said Andrew Gillis, whose daughter Kaylin Gillis was killed Saturday. “And I just hope to God that he dies in jail.”
The anguished father spoke at the courthouse after a hearing in which the man accused of killing Kaylin Gillis, Kevin Monahan, was denied bail by a judge. Monahan, 65, appeared in court with a jacket, tie and shackles. He answered questions from the judge, but mostly sat quietly.
“My daughter was an honor student. She had hopes and dreams of … becoming a marine biologist or a veterinarian,” Andrew Gillis told reporters, his voice cracking with emotion. “She loved animals. And this man took that away from us.”
Gillis, her boyfriend Blake Walsh and their friends got lost while going to another friend’s nearby house. They were driving two cars and a motorcycle when they turned into Monahan’s long, dirt driveway in the town of Hebron, near the Vermont border.
As they realized the mistake and turned around, Monahan fired with a shotgun, authorities said.
Andrew Gillis said Walsh, who wanted to marry his daughter, blamed himself for the tragedy.
“The first time I saw Blake after this happened, he said, ’It’s all my fault,'” he said. “And I said, ‘No, it’s no one’s fault except for that man that pulled the trigger. You guys had no idea that something that bad could happen on a backcountry road.’”
Assistant District Attorney Christian Morris described Monahan in court as “confrontational and hot-tempered.” He said Monahan recently caused a scene at a local department of motor vehicles office. Monahan also had a 1980 misdemeanor and a 2001 aggravated assault with a weapon charge in Vermont that was later dismissed, the prosecutor said.
Morris said other charges are possible against Monahan, including attempted murder.
Monahan’s attorney, Kurt Mausert, told the judge the 1980 misdemeanor was for a driving while intoxicated and that his client had no penal law convictions. He said his client should not be judged on rumor and innuendo.
Mausert has previously called law enforcement’s version of the events a “superficial, simplistic” account of what actually happened.
After court, Andrew Gillis said the loss of Kaylin is being felt by his wife and Kaylin’s two younger sisters. He also recalled his daughter leaving that day, grabbing her bathing suit with plans to go in the hot tub at her boyfriend’s house that night.
“If anything I’m thankful for,” he said, “is that I got to tell her that I love her before she walked out the door.”