The father of Kaylin Gillis, the 20-year-old New York woman authorities say was shot dead when her SUV pulled into the wrong driveway this weekend, eviscerated his daughter’s accused killer at a press conference Wednesday, saying he hopes the suspect “dies in jail.”
The fiery words from Andrew Gillis came just minutes after a judge in Upstate New York ordered 65-year-old Kevin Monahan to be held without bail against his lawyers’ pleas. Prosecutors said additional charges against Monahan, who has already been accused of second-degree murder, could be filed in the coming days.
“Kaylin was a beautiful person,” her father said Wednesday, WNYT reported. “A lot of people loved her. My daughter was an honor student. She had hopes and dreams of becoming a marine biologist or veterinarian. This man took that away from us.”
The grieving father fought back tears as he spoke, saying he’s “so thankful” the judge denied Monahan bail.
Wednesday’s hearing lasted less than 20 minutes, with prosecutors arguing Monahan shouldn’t be released ahead of his second-degree murder trial because he’s a danger to the community—evidenced by his alleged murder of Gillis, a “confrontation” with DMV employees last week, and a 2001 aggravated assault arrest in Vermont that was dismissed a year later.
Initial reports from the courtroom didn’t detail what exactly occurred last week at the DMV. The Washington County sheriff told CNN on Tuesday, however, that Monahan “has not shown any remorse in this case.”
The death of Gillis has rocked the small community of Schuylerville, New York, where she was a quiet but beloved former cheerleader, one of Gillis’ longtime friends told The Daily Beast on Tuesday.
“No one really knows how to react to it,” said Eva Rodriguez, who cheered with Gillis at Schuylerville High School. “It’s this awful mix of anger, sadness and just shock that something like this could happen here.”
Rodriguez said Gillis had been working at CVS and was saving up to eventually study marine biology. She said Gillis’ loved to visit Disney World in Florida and spend time with her longtime boyfriend, whom she was likely going to marry. She added that Gillis was also a role model to her two younger sisters who “absolutely adored her.”
Gillis’ boyfriend, Blake Walsh, told NBC News that he was the driver of the Ford Explorer that pulled into Monahan’s driveway by mistake. He said he, Gillis, and two other friends were following a car to a party, and that they initially believed it was at Monahan’s house in rural Washington County. As soon as they realized they were at the wrong home, Walsh said they began pulling out of the driveway, but it was too late.
“We didn’t have any cell service to figure it out,” he told NBC. “As soon as we figured it out that we were at the wrong location, we started to leave, and that’s when everything happened…My friend said, ‘They’re shooting—go!’ I tried to step on the gas as fast as I could, and that’s when the fatal shot came through.”
Sources familiar with the investigation told the Times Union that Monahan fired at the SUV with a shotgun that “is designed to kill large game and is roughly three times bigger than a round fired by a handgun.”
Andrew Gillis reportedly said Wednesday that Walsh keeps blaming himself for his daughter’s slaying—something he insists isn’t true, placing the full blame on Monahan.
“I want to talk about Kaylin’s boyfriend,” Andrew Gillis said, according to WNYT. “He wanted to marry my daughter. I would have loved that.”
Rodriguez said she keeps going back to what could possibly make Monahan want to blindly fire into a vehicle at all—let alone one that was backing out of his driveway.
“Why does he have to pull out a gun?” she said. “Why does he have to kill this sweet, innocent girl? It will never make sense to me. I would just ask him over and over, why?”