Prosecutor Steve Mount of the Yolo County DA’s Office began Thursday’s preliminary hearing by playing a 911 recording of the call that Hayley Gilligan placed to dispatch in the moments after she fatally shot and killed her self-described ex-boyfriend Jamie Kinseth, 35, whom she claimed to have shot in self-defense.
During the 911 call on October 20, 2018, she told dispatch that her ex-boyfriend broke in, started verbally abusing her, “calling her every name in the book,” then attempted to hit her and grab a knife in the kitchen, which is when she shot him.
At the time, she described him as unconscious and not breathing, while dispatch attempted to get details out of her while also making sure the weapon was secured.
Later in questioning captured on body worn camera footage from Officer Sandeep Maan, who took the stand on Thursday, she explained to the officer that she and her family were about to go to Disneyland, when Mr. Kinseth showed up. She described having a two-year relationship with him from 2014 to 2016, after which for the two previous years they saw each other on and off.
She explained that they had broken up in October 2016 and that he had not been to her current apartment and she had not seen him in “awhile,” describing that it had “been a few months.”
While she described herself as freaking out as she stood in night clothing, she spoke clearly and calmly with the first responding officers.
She described to Officer Maan, later joined by Mathew Muscardini of the Davis Police, as having “let him in,” when an “argument” ensued. She said that “he was trying to grab a knife,” “I thought he had a knife,” she said she felt unsafe, she called the police and grabbed her gun. “It looked like he had something in his hand.”
She then described that, as she shot him, hitting him in the side of the head, he fell down near the couch (which was downstairs) and she placed a blanket under his head.
However, the testimony of Officer Tony Dias and Detective Josh Helton began to cast doubt on this account of the shooting.
Officer Dias described in great detail the blood on the arm of the sofa near the front door. He also described the gun as a Ruger 380 caliber handgun.
He described that he searched the one-bedroom apartment, finding blood spatters in the interior closet – upstairs.
He found a dresser filled with male clothing, which he described as “very full” to the point where it was difficult to close the drawers. In response to a question from Judge Paul Richardson, who presided over the matter, there were no female articles of clothing found in this dresser.
There was also a blue suitcase which had prescription medicine with Jamie Kinseth’s name on the bottles.
He found a gray travel bag with the gun box and a pair of pink women’s pajamas, which had blood stains on the leg.
There was a pillow in a white trash bag underneath the bed drenched in blood and what looked to be gray tissue (some sort of organic matter).
Both sides agreed to two pieces of stipulated evidence for the purpose of the preliminary hearing. The first piece of evidence was a Siamese cat that was found near the apartment, registered to Jamie Kinseth.
Second, an autopsy done by Catherine Raven indicated that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head along the hairline from front to back and slightly left to right, in a slightly downward trajectory.
Detective Helton would elaborate on this evidence. He showed a close up view of the Mr. Kinseth’s skull, shaved clean of hair, which showed the single gunshot wound. He described markings on his head as being known as “stippling” or tattooing. He testified in explanation that this type of injury occurs when gun powder comes into contact with the skin at close range and will “only occur at certain distances.”
He testified that at under 12 inches in range it would produce a clear and discernible pattern, whereas once the gun is shot from at least 40 inches away you would not see any at all.
Based on his training and experience, he testified, “This close pattern, this thick, is less than 12 inches away, maybe even less than six.”
Ms. Raven estimated that the gun was fired at a range of 12 inches, with 18 inches at the very maximum range.
Detective Helton added that, in his training and experience “this would, in this location, the person would not have been able to move after being shot.”
He testified, “The bullet was recovered from inside of the skull,” and added, “There was no exit wound.”
Detective Helton was also able to track down the purchase of the firearm to Kilroy’s in West Sacramento. The purchase of the weapon began on October 3, 2018. It was completed on October 17, 2018.
Detective Helton noted that under California law there is a 14-day waiting period. In addition, in order to purchase a weapon, she had to show some proficiency in the use of the weapon. She explained to the employee at Kilroy’s that she took certification classes online and that the reason for the purchase was “for defense.”
She also chose this weapon because there was a digital indicator that the chamber was loaded, that it had a safety, and a “heavy trigger pull.”
She also purchased plastic dummy rounds for training on how to load the weapon and a box of 20 rounds of ammunition for the weapon that would come with a magazine.
At this point, the preliminary hearing was concluded for the day with resumption of testimony expected late Friday morning.
—David M. Greenwald reporting