Belmont County Jury Views Video of David Kinney’s Police Interrogation

Photo by Robert A. DeFrank Belmont County Sheriff’s Chief Detective Ryan Allar testifies Friday during the fourth day of David Carl Kinney’s murder trial.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The murder trial of David Carl Kinney continued with a fourth day of testimony Friday, and jurors were shown a video recording of the interview between Kinney and Chief Detective Ryan Allar of the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office.

During the course of that four-hour interview, Kinney, 31, of Brilliant eventually admitted to the fatal shooting of Brad McGarry, 43, in the basement at McGarry’s Bellaire residence. Kinney, who is married, and McGarry apparently had been in a romantic relationship.

On the witness stand, Allar described the interviewing techniques and strategies used and the evolution of the Kinney interview.

“As I was initially talking with the defendant, I started to realize that, it started to dawn on me that I was in the room with the person that murdered Mr. McGarry, so things started to shift. Questioning started to shift. My demeanor and attitude started to switch, geared toward speaking to somebody who might be lying to me repeatedly,” Allar said.

Allar added that it is necessary to establish a rapport with an interview subject. He said knowing Kinney’s background, he conducted the interview in a style to create that rapport, including the use of rough, blunt language. He also tailored his strategy upon learning of Kinney’s secret same-sex relationship with McGarry.

“In my experience, somebody that is leading a secret life like this has some self-shame,” the detective said. “For me to form a rapport with the person I’m interviewing, I need him to know that I don’t judge him for whoever he loves, and I don’t. The best way to be is genuine.”

The interview began with Kinney describing his visit to McGarry’s home — with his wife and daughter accompanying him — and finding the door to the house open.

“I noticed the kitchen,” Kinney said on the video, adding that he told his wife and daughter something was not right and that there were items on the floor.

Kinney described getting his gun, looking through the house and eventually checking the basement — the location of McGarry’s body.

“I walked around the corner and saw him laying on the ground,” Kinney said on the video. “I yelled to my wife, ‘Call 911!'”

Kinney later gave his phone to officers for analysis, and it was at that point that details about Kinney’s relationship with McGarry began to emerge. Allar confronted Kinney with this information. He also informed Kinney that Bellaire Police Chief Michael Kovalyk, a neighbor of McGarry’s residence, and others had cameras set up that would record vehicles going up and down the street. Kinney then admitted to going to McGarry’s house earlier but said he was not at the house during the fatal shooting. Allar informed him that the timelines of the crime and his account of events did not match.

Kinney then provided two other explanations of the events surrounding McGarry’s death. He first said he had met McGarry at the Bellaire residence and that McGarry had another man with him. Kinney said he had heard a gunshot and fled. When Allar contested that story, Kinney claimed he, McGarry and a third, unknown man had met, argued over money McGarry had said was stolen, and the unknown man killed McGarry and threatened to kill and expose Kinney. Allar continued to press.

“You put your own daughter in that basement with that body. You did that. … You knew Brad was dead and you brought your daughter,” Allar said on the video. “You went to this elaborate way to cover up … taking your own daughter to the scene.”

Allar also pointed out text messages and calls Kinney had made to McGarry after his death and said he believed Kinney was making up stories out of guilt.

“This hole you’re digging is getting bigger. You’re not going to be able to climb out,” Allar said during the interview. “Why did you keep calling Brad if you knew he was dead?”

“It didn’t seem real,” Kinney responded, adding that he and his family had planned to visit McGarry that day.

Kinney eventually said he had met McGarry, intending to end the romantic relationship while trying to retain their friendship. He said McGarry flew into a fit of rage over this and because he believed money was missing from his house. Kinney said McGarry opened his own drawers and upset his own items while pointing out that this money was not there. Kinney said they continued the argument into the basement, where McGarry demanded Kinney leave his wife. Kinney said McGarry then picked up a .22-caliber pistol and waved it threateningly. He said a fight ensued.

Kinney would eventually write a statement that Allar read in court.

“He grabbed his Derringer pistol off of the hot tub and was waving it and pointing it at me,” Allar said as he quoted Kinney’s statement.

“I was scared and worried. He came at me. I pushed the gun. Pushed him away. He came back at me. I kind of pushed him past me a bit and shot him once, and he went to the ground and I shot again,” Kinney wrote. “I was scared and freaked out when he came at me with the gun, so I protected myself. I should have called the cops, but panicked and left. I was scared and didn’t know what to do other than throw the gun and come back later.”

Kinney said he discarded the gun on Ohio 7 near Bellaire. No such weapon has been found.

The trial is expected to continue today. Defense attorney Christopher Gagin has indicated he intends to contest Kinney’s description of how the shooting took place using another forensic expert.