NY man who killed Kaylin Gillis after wrong turn in driveway sentenced to 25 years to life

A New York man, convicted of second-degree murder for fatally shooting a 20-year-old woman riding in a vehicle that was mistakenly driven into his driveway last year, has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Kevin Monahan, 66, had pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, reckless endangerment and tampering with physical evidence after the April 15, 2023, shooting death of Kaylin Gillis, court records show.

The shooting took place in upstate New York in the state's Adirondack region.

Andrew Gillis, right, father of slain daughter, Kaylin Gillis, thanks family and supporters following a sentencing for Kevin Monahan on Friday, March 1, 2024, at Washington County Courthouse in Fort Edward, N.Y. Monahan who fatally shot 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis after the SUV she was riding in mistakenly drove into his rural driveway in upstate New York was sentencedy to 25 years to life in prison.

Within hours of deliberations following a trial last month, a jury found Monahan guilty on all criminal counts.

“I think it’s important that people know that it is not OK to shoot people and kill them who drive down your driveway,” Judge Adam Michelini said during Monahan's sentencing hearing, the Associated Press reported.

Trying to find a friend's house

On the night of the shooting, Gillis and a group of friends, in a caravan of two cars and a motorcycle, pulled into Monahan's rural driveway in the town of Hebron, about 55 miles north of Albany near the Vermont state line, trying to find a friend’s house for a party.

As the group started to leave, Monahan fired two shots from his porch, striking the vehicle with Gillis inside, resulting in her death.

Before a judge handed down the sentence Friday, the victim's boyfriend Blake Walsh, who was behind the wheel of the SUV Gillis was in, testified Monahan took the life of someone who “never, not for a second threatened him," the Associated Press reported.

“Not only do I never get to see my best friend again, but I now have a new deep-rooted fear and hatred for the world. I feel afraid in everyday situations,” the AP reported the victim's best friend, Alexandra Whiting, a passenger in the car, told the court.

Days before Giills' death, in a similar situation nearly 1,300 miles southwest in Kansas City, Missouri, a Black high school student was shot and seriously wounded after going to the wrong house to pick up his younger brothers.

The shooting of 16-year-old Ralph Yarl drew national attention and sparked questions of racism. The series of wrong-place shootings last April also reignited debates on self-defense laws and gun reform.

Contributing: Thao Nguyen and The Associated Press

Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on X @nataliealund.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kevin Monahan sentenced for killing Kaylin Gillis in New York driveway