By Samantha Rahn
“It’s what Jamie (the victim) would have wanted.” This phrase was spoken repeatedly by the family members of the victim as to why they have accepted the defendant’s plea deal for a lesser sentence of 13 years in state prison.
The accused, Hayley K. Gilligan, is charged with voluntary manslaughter for an act committed on October 20, 2018. On that night, she shot her boyfriend in the head while he lay sleeping on the couch. Ms. Gilligan and the victim had lived together in downtown Davis for two months prior to the incident. Ms. Gilligan’s family and friends were unaware that the two had been living together and reported that Hayley expressed fears that her boyfriend was stalking her. It is unclear what provoked Ms. Gilligan to kill her boyfriend on that night.
Today, Judge Paul Richardson presided over the court for the sentencing of Ms. Gilligan. The judge said that Ms. Gilligan’s friends and family have sent in letters showing their support. The prosecution argues that the letters should be rejected by the court because Ms. Gilligan has already taken a plea deal. Judge Richardson noted that this case is unusual and that the letters would help show the defendant’s support system. Ms. Gilligan’s mother briefly spoke about her daughter’s kindness, intelligence, and loving heart. She said that she “wishes there was something she could have done to prevent this.” Ms. Gilligan appeared to be very emotional while hearing her mother speak.
The victim’s family was then given the opportunity to speak in front of the judge. The victim’s father spoke first about how painful this situation is for his family. He revealed that the situation is especially difficult because the family has known Ms. Gilligan for a long time. She was a former student of his wife and eventually became Jamie’s girlfriend. He said that his family was always very fond of her and that they had shared many happy memories together. He is truly baffled by Ms. Gilligan’s actions and is angry at her for killing his son.
The cousin of the victim spoke next and took a minute to compose her emotions before addressing the court. She described the morning following Jamie’s death. She had lived only a few blocks away and remembered hearing sirens and seeing vehicles gathered around. She began receiving texts from family members indicating that they could not get in touch with Jamie. This led her to gather information at the police station, where she was directed to the coroner’s office and notified of her cousin’s death. She explained that she was the one who had to make phone calls to family members notifying them of what happened. She concluded by expressing her concerns for when Ms. Gilligan is released from jail, noting that her actions were deceitful and violent.
The victim’s brother was the last family member to speak. He was very emotional and angry toward Ms. Gilligan. He said that his brother always said that he loved her. The family was never anything but kind to Ms. Gilligan. He said it was hard for his family to agree to the terms of the plea deal, but that they did so because they know it’s what his brother would have wanted.
The prosecutor spoke to the judge before he made his decision. He appeared saddened, as the family was, and explained that he has listened to every phone call Ms. Gilligan has made in prison and that she has never shown remorse. He said that she lied to her family and friends that Jamie stalked her and stole money. The prosecutor also revealed that at the same time Ms. Gilligan purchased the firearm used to kill Jamie, she was texting him that she loved him. He also said that she told the police that Jamie had been stalking her to find out where she lived; however, police later discovered that Jamie had been living there and Ms. Gilligan hid his belongings.
After hearing everyone speak, Judge Richardson expressed his confusion about how and why both families are in the place they are today. He noted that although Ms. Gilligan will go to jail, she will eventually be released and her family will get her back. Meanwhile, the victim’s family will never get their son back. He told Ms. Gilligan’s friends and family that they should appreciate how forgiving the victim’s family is toward her.
Judge Richardson accepted Ms. Gilligan’s plea; She is sentenced to three years in prison for voluntary manslaughter and 10 years for the use of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Her terms are to be served consecutively for a total of 13 years in state prison. Upon Ms. Gilligan’s release, she will face up to four years of parole.