Gilday's plea not accepted in court

·4 min read

May 17—Shannon Gilday's attempt to change his plea to guilty, but mentally ill was not accepted in circuit court on Monday morning.

A not guilty plea was put in on his behalf by the circuit court, a pre-trial hearing will be held on at 9 a.m. on July 22.

Prosecutors from the commonwealth attorney's office said there must be evidence Gilday is mentally ill before he can change his plea to guilty, but mentally ill. He had initially plead not guilty shortly after being arrested in late February.

"Judge Maier followed the rules of criminal procedure, the statutes, and the case law and entered a plea of not guilty for the defendant today. That was the only plea that was appropriate under the circumstances," Commonwealth Attorney Jennifer Smith said.

On Friday morning, the commonwealth submitted a notice of aggravating circumstances to Gilday's attorney, Tom Griffiths. According to Smith, the notice makes the sentences of the death penalty, life without parole, and life without the possibility of parole in 25 years in play.

"Comes now the Commonwealth ad hereby gives notice to the defendant, Shannon Gilday, that the Commonwealth intends to seek enhanced penalties in this case pursuant to KRS.532.025. The commonwealth will introduce evidence establishing the aggravating circumstances that the offense of murder was committed while the defendant was engaged in the commission of burglary in the first degree and/or that the offense of murder was committed for the purpose of obtaining property with monetary value," the notice said.

Gilday's defense is not currently seeking a discovery period in the trial, which would go over all of the evidence gathered by prosecutors.

"This morning Shannon Gilday attempted for the second time to enter a plea of guilty but mentally ill. The prosecution objected and Shannon was unable to enter his plea. This postpones the resolution of this case for an unknown length of time," Griffith said in a statement to the Register. "In order to proceed the court entered a not guilty plea in the case. The prosecution also filed notice of aggravated penalties which will further extend the case. Shannon has not denied his actions and if necessary will present evidence of his serious mental illness to satisfy the court."

In April, Gilday was indicted by a grand jury on charges of murder, three counts of attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, and first-degree criminal mischief.

According to investigators with the Kentucky State Police (KSP), Gilday was convinced nuclear war was imminent and targeted the residence of former state representative Wesley Morgan for the the multi-million dollar bunker located inside of the home.

"He told me he was willing to kill everyone inside the residence if necessary in order to access the bunker," Detective Camron Allen of the Kentucky State Police said during a March pre-trial hearing.

Investigators also revealed Gilday had unsuccessfully attempted to break into the bunker inside the Morgan residence before by using a tunnel. He had scouted out the property on multiple occasions before the invasion.

Early in the morning on Feb. 22, Gilday allegedly broke into the Morgan residence and opened fire with an AR-15, killing Wesley Morgan's daughter Jordan Morgan as she laid in her bed. Morgan's wife Lindsey and younger daughter Sydney managed to flee the scene. Wesley Morgan allegedly exchanged gunfire with Gilday and was wounded in the process.

According to Kentucky State Police investigators, Gilday confessed to these crimes shortly after being arrested on Feb. 28. He initially plead not guilty to those charges before being lodged at the Madison County Detention Center.

Shortly after he was arrested, the Richmond Police Department charged Gilday with third-degree burglary and theft by unlawful taking or dispossession.

According to a warrant issued by the Kenton County District Court, Gilday broke into the county's Circuit Court County Clerk's office on Jan. 26, 2020.

He stole several pieces of equipment used to make drivers licenses in addition to other items. A total of $13,230.24 was stolen from the office.

Gilday managed to keep his face hidden in surveillance footage taken at the office. Several of his family members told investigators they believed he had committed the burglary. The stolen items were found damaged beyond repair at a dumpsite. Gilday's own military records, along with those of several other service members, were also found in the wreckage. He plead guilty to those charges, which have resulted in a hearing set for June 24.

On April 18, Gilday was arraigned on first-degree strangulation and third-degree assault of a corrections officer, with those charges being sent to a Grand Jury after a preliminary hearing on May 4th.

According to witness testimony from a deputy at the Madison County Detention Center, Steven Howard, the incident happened the morning of April 16. Howard said another deputy at the jail was serving Gilday breakfast when Gilday put one hand on the deputy's shoulder and took him to the floor outside the cell.