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Davis, California

Monday, April 15, 2024

Davis woman will face murder trial in May for killing ex-boyfriend

Yolo District Attorney has presented evidence for murder charge in preliminary hearings, contradicting claims of self-defense

Davis resident Hayley Gilligan maintains that she shot her ex-boyfriend in self-defense last October. The prosecution, however, has presented evidence that disputes her accounts of events in preliminary hearings, according to The Davis Enterprise. After an arraignment on Feb. 15, Gilligan will stand trial on May 28 for murder and felony use of a firearm.

Early in the morning on Oct. 20 last year, police responded to an emergency call saying a man had been shot on the 900 block of F St. in Davis, according to a press release from the Davis Police Department.

“Detectives determined that a 29 year old female shot a 35 year old male,” the press release said. “The male victim was pronounced deceased at the scene. The female was questioned by detectives and arrested.”

The release identified the shooter as Hayley Gilligan, who was taken to Yolo County Jail on homicide charges. The male victim was later identified as Jamie Kinseth. Gilligan’s lawyer, Mark Riechel, told KCRA 3 that Kinseth had previously dated Gilligan. Riechel also said the shooting was in self-defense, claiming his client was afraid for her life when she shot Kinseth.

“Once he was inside, she got very scared,” Reichel said. “Obviously, fearing for her life, this is what happened.”

Gilligan told the police responding to the 9-1-1 call that the shooting was in self-defense, but evidence presented by the prosecution in preliminary hearings contradicts her account of events, according to The Enterprise.

Gilligan told police in a conversation captured by the responding officers’ body cameras that Kinseth had abused her in the past, according to The Enterprise. Kinseth forced his way into Gilligan’s apartment and began threatening her, Gilligan said, refusing to leave after she warned him she had a gun and would call the police. Gilligan stated that she ran to her upstairs bedroom to grab the gun, and heard Kinseth rummaging for something in the kitchen downstairs. When Gilligan entered kitchen, she said, Kinseth turned his back to her.

“It seemed like he was trying to grab a knife or something,” Gilligan said in the video, The Enterprise reported. “He had his arm up to hit me and I just kind of instinctively (shot him).”

Evidence that challenges this narrative includes a forensic examination of a bullet wound on Kinseth’s head, suggesting he was shot a point blank range — not from across the room as Gilligan previously stated — and a blood stain in between Kinseth’s body and Gilligan’s bloody sofa seemed to indicate the body was dragged after the shooting. And despite Gilligan’s statement that he had forced his way into her apartment, The Enterprise recounted substantial evidence presented by the prosecution that Kinseth had been living there the whole time — including a prescription medication bottles with his name on the label, a dresser containing men’s clothing and a cat that had been microchipped in his name.

The DA is seeking a murder conviction along with a felony charge for the negligent discharge of a firearm, according to a complaint submitted to the Yolo County Superior Court. The charges entail that Gilligan shot Kinseth willfully, with “malice aforethought.”

Furthermore, the prosecution now alleges the special circumstance of “lying in wait,” the DA’s website reports. “Lying in wait” means that the accused planned the murder ahead of time and waited for the right opportunity to kill the victim, using the element of surprise to gain the upper hand, according California jury instructions. If proven in court, these special circumstances will make the charge first-degree murder, a capital offense punishable by the death penalty or life in prison. The DA’s website indicates it will not seek the death penalty.

Judge Paul Richardson found the prosecution’s evidence sufficient to proceed to a jury trial for murder in May. The trial will take place in Woodland at Yolo Superior on May 28 at 8:30 a.m.

Written by: Tim Lalonde — city@theaggie.org



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