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Davis woman takes plea deal for killing boyfriend, faces 13 years in prison

A look inside the courtroom where Davis woman is accused of shooting ex-boyfriend to death

Hayley Gilligan of Davis in Yolo Superior Court in Woodland in the October 2018 shooting death of boyfriend Jamie Kinseth. Gilligan faces a murder charge in the Oct. 20, 2018 shooting inside their F Street apartment.
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Hayley Gilligan of Davis in Yolo Superior Court in Woodland in the October 2018 shooting death of boyfriend Jamie Kinseth. Gilligan faces a murder charge in the Oct. 20, 2018 shooting inside their F Street apartment.

Hayley Katherine Gilligan will go to prison for killing her ex-boyfriend at gunpoint last October inside her Davis apartment.

The Davis woman will be sentenced in July to 13 years in state prison after pleading no contest to a manslaughter charge Thursday in the Oct. 20, 2018, shooting death of former boyfriend Jamie Bryan Thomas Kinseth, 35, Yolo County District Attorney’s officials said Friday.

Gilligan, 29, remains held without bail in Yolo County custody awaiting a July 5 sentencing date in Yolo Superior Court in Woodland. Gilligan had maintained that she shot Kinseth at close range in self-defense. Prosecutors said she wanted to end the relationship when she fired the fatal round.

A murder trial and a potential life sentence without parole loomed in the shooting death – Yolo Superior Court Judge Paul Richardson in February set a May 28 trial date. But a plea agreement also began to develop and quickly gathered momentum in recent days. The road to a plea “came together in the last week or so,” said Yolo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven.

“We believed she was lying in wait. In our minds, we believed it was murder, but it is a different question when you’re talking about proving it” before a jury, Raven said Friday.

Gilligan was a newly hired occupational therapist at Woodland Joint Unified School District and had no criminal record before the deadly shooting. She had bought a weapon – a .38-caliber Ruger handgun – in the weeks before Kinseth was killed.

She told Davis police in the moments after the shooting that she lived alone in her F Street apartment after breaking off what she said was a “toxic” relationship with Kinseth and said hadn’t seen Kinseth in months when he forced his way into her home early Oct. 20. Gilligan said she pulled the trigger after she heard Kinseth rummage in the kitchen then turn to her with what she thought was a weapon.

But evidence at Gilligan’s preliminary hearing told a different story: The two were living together and had recently moved to F Street. Detectives found Kinseth’s mail and a drawer full of clothes. Kinseth’s pillow, soaked in blood, and a bullet wound from a round fired at close range, told investigators – and, later, prosecutors – that he lived at the home.

Yolo County prosecutors argued that Gilligan was looking for a way out of their on-and-off relationship when she killed Kinseth and lied to Davis police when she said Kinseth forced his way into the apartment.

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