Suspect Sentenced In Earlier Attack
Friday, December 21, 2007
A man who allegedly killed an 80-year-old Fairfax County woman while free on bond after being convicted of another attack was sentenced this week to five years in prison by the judge who had allowed him to remain out of jail. The judge, meanwhile, is resigning from the bench.
Kevin C. Kline, 18, of Woodbridge is awaiting a hearing on charges that he fatally shot Joan M. Gillinson, and possibly sexually assaulted her, Oct. 17 in Huntley Meadows Park. He then fled the park, got on a Fairfax Connector bus and held police at bay by threatening suicide as the bus sat near Route 1 in Hybla Valley at the height of rush hour, police say. He surrendered without incident after nearly four hours.
At the time, Kline was free on $15,000 bond after being convicted about two weeks earlier of malicious wounding and abduction in the March 31 attack of a Culpeper County woman. Before and after the trial, prosecutors had requested that his bond be revoked, but Culpeper Circuit Court Judge John R. Cullen denied the motions, court records show.
Virginia Supreme Court officials said yesterday that Cullen had submitted his resignation, effective June 30. His term was not scheduled to end until June 30, 2010. Cullen has been a Circuit Court judge since 1994 and is the presiding judge in Culpeper, which is part of a nine-county circuit. He did not return a call yesterday seeking comment.
On Wednesday, Cullen presided over Kline's sentencing in the malicious-wounding case. In the courtroom was Marianne Reagan, Kline's victim, who had testified that Kline repeatedly tackled her after she walked into the barn on her rural Culpeper property in the early-morning darkness.
Reagan, 56, said yesterday that she entered the barn at 6:30 a.m. with her dog Linus, a pit bull-Labrador retriever mix. Linus growled, and Reagan saw "this lump figure" in a corner of the barn.
"All of a sudden, I heard this loud zapping electric noise and this bluish light," Reagan said, referring to a stun gun Kline was carrying. "And he rammed me, jumped on me and then tried to get the stun gun on the exposed part of my neck."
The dog leapt to Reagan's rescue, latching onto Kline's left arm while Reagan fought off the stun gun in his other hand. Kline got up, began circling her with the stun gun and tackled her again, she said. Again, the dog intervened. Kline got up.
A third time, Reagan said, Kline tackled her. "I was screaming, yelling for help," Reagan said. "I really thought that was it."
Linus bit into Kline, this time taking a piece of his lip. At that point, a friend of Reagan's arrived, she said. Kline darted into a small room in the barn and then fled.
"Linus is the hero," Reagan said. "He should get an award."
Kline's mother, Ellen Wagner, had rented a cottage on Reagan's property and Kline was an occasional visitor, according to Reagan and court records. In February, after a dispute with Reagan over entrance to the property, Wagner left the cottage.
Kline's attorney, Harvey Volzer, said that his client had been trying to retrieve tools his mother had left and that Reagan surprised him. Volzer said Kline used the stun gun "to protect himself." Reagan ridiculed that notion, saying that the rental cottage is far from the barn and that he repeatedly attacked her.
Kline then fled to San Diego, where he was arrested in April.
Two of the jurors who convicted Kline of malicious wounding and abduction said they believed Reagan's story. "If it wasn't for the dog, he probably would have killed her," said juror Rebecca Apperson, who also said she was surprised that Kline was released. "We thought the judge would keep him in jail," she said.
Virginia law presumes that someone charged with malicious wounding shall be held without bond unless it can be proved he is not a flight risk and not a danger to the community.
A preliminary hearing for Kline in the Gillinson killing is set for Feb. 13.