A Davis woman charged with murder for fatally shooting an ex-boyfriend told police she did it in self-defense, according to arrest documents released Tuesday to The Sacramento Bee.
Hayley Katherine Gilligan, 29, told officers she fatally shot Jamie Bryan Thomas Kinseth, 35, in the head because she felt threatened after he pushed his way into her apartment on Oct. 20, Davis police said in arrest documents.
In a four-page probable cause declaration dated Oct. 21 and filed in Yolo Superior Court, detectives outlined Gilligan’s account of events leading up to the shooting.
Gilligan told police Kinseth showed up at her apartment on F and 9th streets in Davis unannounced just after 6 a.m. and forced his way in. The couple had an on-and-off relationship, but had not seen each other for about a week, she said. Police said Gilligan’s cellular phone showed text messages between the pair as late as the night before the fatal shooting.
The couple began to argue shortly after his arrival.
Gilligan told investigators she attempted to go up the stairs of the two-story apartment but Kinseth tried to block her path, according to the documents.
When she saw Kinseth walk into the kitchen and rummage through drawers, she picked up her phone and a recently-purchased Ruger handgun. She loaded the weapon, but told investigators she didn’t intend to kill Kinseth.
“Gilligan felt threatened and unsafe,” police wrote in their report. “Gilligan explained she felt like she needed to visually show (Kinseth) he needed to leave. She wanted to scare him and she did not intend to use the pistol.”
Gilligan said as she came down the stairs, she saw Kinseth near the couch. He reached for something and turned to her, she told police.
Gilligan “thought Kinseth was going to hit her or cut her with something,” detectives wrote. Gilligan fired on Kinseth from about five feet away, according to her declaration.
Gilligan told investigators she checked for Kinseth’s pulse but didn’t find one. She went upstairs and put away the gun, then checked on Kinseth again, she said. She called her sister, then called police at about 7 a.m.
Police responding to her call found Kinseth’s body with a blanket under his head just inside the front door.
The body appeared to have been dragged from the couch to the door, the report said. Police noted a “wet red dragging pattern” on the floor and that the arm of the couch was soaked in blood.
Police did not find a weapon near Kinseth’s body, the report read. Gilligan’s gun was found on top of her bedroom dresser. Gilligan bought the weapon at a West Sacramento gun store weeks earlier, on Oct. 3, police said in their report. She brought it home Oct. 17 after a waiting period.
A plastic bag with a spent .380-caliber casing was nearby. Police also found a bag containing a bloodstained pillow and a blood-spattered duffel bag containing Kinseth’s wallet and smartphone. The report said Gilligan’s sweatpants were also stained with blood.
Gilligan has been held without bail in Yolo County jail since her arrest the day of the shooting. She was arraigned on a single count of murder on Oct. 24, but has not yet entered a plea. She is expected to enter a plea at her next court appearance on Nov. 16, her attorney Mark Reichel said Tuesday.
“Whatever happened, she felt in her heart of hearts she had to do what she did,” Reichel said.
Both from the Nevada City area, Gilligan and Kinseth met four years ago in Nevada County where Kinseth worked at a video store, Reichel said.
Their relationship had shown signs of trouble before. Gilligan told investigators Kinseth had on a previous occasion thrown objects at her. Once, she said, Kinseth hit her, but left no bruises.
Gilligan had just started a new job in August at Woodland Joint Unified School District as an occupational therapist.
In a statement after the shooting, Woodland Joint Unified School district officials said they were aware of Gilligan’s arrest and will cooperate with law enforcement. District officials “will take action regarding her employment as appropriate,” the statement read.