Prosecution Rests Its Case in Kinney Murder Trial in Belmont County

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The prosecution rested its case Saturday in the murder trial of David Carl Kinney, making way for defense attorney Christopher Gagin to present witnesses and evidence.

On Friday, Belmont County sheriff’s Chief Detective Ryan Allar testified. Allar had conducted the May 9 interview that eventually resulted in Kinney admitting to the fatal shooting of Brad McGarry, 43, in the basement of McGarry’s Bellaire residence. Kinney originally had reported finding the body while visiting the McGarry residence with his wife and daughter, but suspicion fell on him during the interview when he gave several contradictory stories, finally saying he had shot McGarry in self-defense.

Kinney, 31, of Brilliant apparently was involved in a romantic relationship with McGarry. Kinney said McGarry had demanded that Kinney leave his wife, and that McGarry had been upset regarding money he believed was missing from his home. Kinney said McGarry produced a gun and was shot in the course of a fight.

Forensic evidence suggests two gunshot wounds were sustained by McGarry — a non-fatal wound that skidded along McGarry’s skull without penetrating and a fatal shot that entered McGarry’s brain.

On Saturday morning, Gagin took his turn cross-examining Allar, who acknowledged there were no indications of a threat from Kinney in the records extracted from Kinney’s cellular phone, which Kinney had allowed law enforcement to examine. However, Allar said there was some indication from a witness that McGarry had spoken about telling Kinney’s wife about their relationship six months prior to the shooting. Allar said he considered this as possible motivation for murder.

Gagin inquired about law enforcement’s theories about the case.

“From the interrogation, you received evidence from Mr. Kinney. I understand you’re going to tell me that he lied to you several times,” Gagin said, asking what theories had been developed.

“I think he lied to us constantly,” Allar said. “Theory No. 1: your client pre-planned to kill Brad McGarry and ambushed him at the crime scene by repeated deceptive behavior on the day of the crime. He lured him with promises of sex. He staged the crime scene. He staged the entire afterwards. He planted multiple, multiple things to cover this up. That’s theory No. 1, and it’s my theory.”

Gagin pointed out that DNA swabs taken from drawers and cabinets that had been thrown open in McGarry’s home have not resulted in a solid match with Kinney. Gagin also referred to prior forensic testimony indicating the fatal shot was an angled contact wound, where the muzzle touched or was close to McGarry’s skin.

Gagin referred to the interview in which Kinney described the shooting and indicated McGarry was on the floor while Kinney stood over him. The jury already viewed a video recording of that interview.

“The distance between the muzzle of Mr. Kinney standing fully upright and holding out is going to be more than a foot,” Gagin said. “There’s no contact possible between the end of that muzzle and Mr. McGarry’s head.”

Gagin also pointed out that the bullet traveled at a slight upward angle through McGarry’s skull, which calls Kinney’s description of the events into doubt.

Gagin also referred to forensic testimony that it cannot be determined in what order the two gunshots were fired. He indicated that McGarry evidently had been wearing a camouflage hat at the time of the shooting, and that the hat was found on a hot tub in the basement in June. Gagin said if the shooting had occurred as Kinney said it did during the interview, the hat would have traveled away from the tub. Allar said the hat could have been moved at some point.

In addition, Belmont County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Flanagan indicated the recording of the interview could be interpreted to show that McGarry had been on his knees when Kinney allegedly shot him.

Testimony continued throughout the day on Saturday and is expected to resume on Monday morning.