Fort Edward, New York – A man in upstate New York was found guilty of second-degree murder for fatally shooting a young woman who mistakenly drove into his rural driveway. Kevin Monahan, 66, was convicted of second-degree murder, reckless endangerment, and tampering with physical evidence after shooting 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis in April.
The jury deliberated for less than an hour before reaching the verdict. The incident occurred when Gillis and her friends pulled into Monahan’s long, curving driveway near the Vermont border while they were attempting to locate a different house. Monahan fired twice from his shotgun, with the second shot hitting Gillis in the neck as she sat in the front passenger seat of an SUV driven by her boyfriend. The group had been traveling in a caravan of two cars and a motorcycle, mistakenly turning into Monahan’s driveway in the rural town of Hebron, about 40 miles north of Albany.
Prosecutors argued that Monahan acted out of anger and intended to make the group leave as quickly as possible, regardless of the harm it could cause. However, Monahan claimed that the shooting was an accident involving a defective gun. During the trial, he testified that he believed the house he shared with his wife was under siege by intruders when he saw the vehicles approach. He added that he first fired a warning shot to scare the group away, and then accidentally fired the second shot after tripping over nails on the porch.
Gillis’ tragic death brought to light the issue of mistaken intrusions, with her father describing her as a young woman who loved animals and aspired to become a marine biologist or a veterinarian. The incident also drew comparisons to the shooting of 16-year-old Ralph Yarl in Kansas City, who was wounded after mistakenly going to the wrong door while picking up his younger brothers.
Throughout the trial that lasted less than two weeks, Monahan and his attorney maintained that the shooting was accidental. However, the jury’s decision to convict him on multiple charges speaks to the tragic consequences of mistaken confrontations and the need for restraint and caution in such situations.