Fairfax Slaying Victim Identified

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 20, 2007

An 80-year-old Fairfax County woman -- described by a neighbor as "a quintessential sweet little old English lady" -- was identified yesterday as the victim of Wednesday's fatal shooting in a popular park, allegedly by a teenager who did not know her.

Joan M. Gillinson, married for 60 years and the mother of four, lived with her husband, retired anesthesiologist Roy S. Gillinson, in an apartment in the Montebello high-rise complex on Route 1. Her husband and friends said she liked to take leisurely walks and read in Huntley Meadows Park, in the Hybla Valley area.

About 2:40 p.m. Wednesday, Gillinson was shot to death in the park, Fairfax police said. A man with blood on his clothes ran from the park, climbed on a Fairfax Connector bus and held police at bay for nearly four hours. He threatened to kill himself before surrendering.

Kevin C. Kline, 18, who lived with his father in Woodbridge, was charged with murder in Gillinson's slaying. Police said Kline did not know Gillinson. Court records indicate that police recovered a 9mm Walther semiautomatic pistol from the bus. Kline could not have possessed a gun legally because he had just been convicted of assaulting a woman in Culpeper County and felons cannot have guns.

Kline was convicted of malicious wounding and abduction Oct. 2. Despite Kline's conviction and his fleeing to California after the attack in March, Culpeper Circuit Court Judge John R. Cullen allowed Kline to remain free on bond pending sentencing, county officials said.

Cullen did not return a phone message yesterday and has not explained his decision.

"The fact that distresses me most is that this man accused of a violent crime was let out," Roy Gillinson told WTOP radio yesterday. "The guy's deranged. He should never have been let out on bail."

Court records indicate that Joan Gillinson also might have been sexually assaulted. On Thursday, a Fairfax detective took DNA samples from Kline at the Fairfax jail.

If Gillinson was raped, prosecutors could seek the death penalty. Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh said yesterday that he would have to consider several factors before seeking capital punishment and "that's a call you'd have to make down the road."

On a warm, clear October afternoon, Gillinson was making one of her regular visits to Huntley Meadows, the second-largest park in Fairfax.

"She was a frequent visitor to the park," said county parks spokeswoman Judy Pedersen.

"The staff certainly knew her," Pedersen said. Some staff members were distraught by the slaying, she said, and the county was offering counseling to employees.

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