Teen Shot Woman Over Car Keys, Detective Says

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 14, 2008

An 18-year-old man accused of killing an 80-year-old woman in a Fairfax County park last fall told police that he had intended to take the woman's car keys and shot her when she resisted, a Fairfax homicide detective testified yesterday.

The testimony came in a preliminary hearing for Kevin C. Kline of Woodbridge, who was convicted two weeks ago of attacking another woman in Culpeper. Kline is being held without bond in the Oct. 17 slaying of Joan M. Gillinson of the Alexandria area, who had gone to Huntley Meadows Park to read a book on a sunny day. She was found with a bullet wound to her head about 100 feet from a park bench where her glasses and car keys remained.

Kline ran from the park and boarded a Fairfax Connector bus. When police surrounded the bus near Route 1, the passengers fled, but Kline refused to leave. The incident created a massive traffic jam during the evening rush hour that was resolved only when his attorney, Harvey J. Volzer, persuaded him to surrender.

Court records indicated in October that police were investigating whether Gillinson was sexually assaulted. If so, Kline could be prosecuted for capital murder and face the death penalty. But investigators do not think that Gillinson was sexually assaulted.

Gillinson, married for 60 years and the mother of four adult children, was a regular visitor to Huntley Meadows Park, a park official said. She was a retired nurse and lived with her husband in the Montebello high-rise complex just south of Alexandria on Route 1.

A person called 911 on Oct. 17 to report hearing a gunshot and seeing a man with blood on his shirt run from the park. Officer Amanda D. Wallace said she and Officer Kevin Webb were walking with the witness toward where the witness thought he had heard the shot when they spotted Gillinson's body. Wallace said it appeared that Gillinson's body had been dragged from a park bench along a trail, through the fall foliage and into a drainage ditch.

Kline was arrested after a four-hour standoff on the Fairfax Connector bus. Homicide Detective Daniel R. Bibeault said he interviewed Kline the next morning in the Fairfax jail.

Bibeault said Kline told him that he took a gun and three magazines of bullets with him to the park that afternoon, intending to take someone's car keys. "He saw an older woman in the park," Bibeault said Kline told him. "He asked her to give him her keys. When she didn't comply, he put the gun on her."

Kline told the detective that he again demanded the keys and that Gillinson again refused. "He said he pointed the gun at her and shot her in the head," Bibeault said. When Kline was arrested, court records say, he was carrying a 9mm pistol.

On Oct. 2, Kline was found guilty in Culpeper County of malicious wounding and abduction for hiding in a barn and attacking a woman whom he tried to shock with an electric stun gun. After Kline was convicted, Culpeper Circuit Court Judge John R. Cullen allowed him to remain free on bond pending sentencing. Gillinson was killed while Kline was awaiting sentencing. Cullen has since announced his resignation, and he sentenced Kline in December to five years in prison.

Yesterday, Fairfax General District Court Judge Stewart P. Davis found probable cause that Kline killed Gillinson and sent the case to the Fairfax grand jury, which could indict Kline next week.

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