In 2016, Jaclyn McGuigan told a Maryland judge her 18-year-old son, Kevin, was suffering from drug-induced paranoia and had threatened to kill her.
Nearly three years later, police say, he slashed her neck outside a church, leaving her for dead just hours after he had called to ask if they could meet.
The son, Kevin Justin McGuigan, now 21 and charged with first-degree murder in his mother’s death Friday, made his first appearance in Montgomery County District Court in the case on Monday. A judge ordered him to remain in jail pending a mental evaluation and scheduled a new bail review hearing for next week.
Officials say he killed his mother about 6 p.m. Friday outside St. Raphael Catholic Church and School in Rockville, as two horrified witnesses heard her screams and told police they saw him run away. Detectives arrested him the next morning. A motive for the slaying was not clear.
The public defender’s office, representing Kevin McGuigan, declined to comment on Monday.
“She was pure sunshine, pure light,” the victim’s niece, Nicky Everette, said Sunday.
A breast-cancer survivor, McGuigan, 49, always looked out for family and friends, according to Everette. “She was the glue, she’s our rock,” Everette said.
Everette and several other family members stood outside the courtroom after Kevin McGuigan’s bail review hearing. It was the same group of people who had celebrated with his mother, whom everyone called Jackie, after she finished her radiation treatments at the end of July, Everette said.
“It’s a huge loss to our family,” said Everette, who had just come from funeral planning before rushing to court. “It’s a huge loss to our community.”
Everette said there didn’t appear to be any tension between Jaclyn and Kevin McGuigan, but court files show the mother and son had a troubled past.
In February 2016, she sought a court order to remove him from her townhouse in Rockville, where he had been living with her and at least one of her other children, according to Montgomery District Court records. At the time, Kevin McGuigan was undergoing an emergency mental-health evaluation at a hospital, his mother said in court filings.
He had threatened “physical harm to me on many occasions,” she wrote in her court filing. “He has often accused me of knowing things about him and [said] if I don’t answer, he will kill me.”
Jaclyn McGuigan also asserted that Kevin had recently walked into his 15-year-old brother’s bedroom, asked him “what he knew” and “began punching him violently.” She told the court that she and her minor son and 21-year-old daughter needed protection from Kevin McGuigan and asked that he receive counseling for drug abuse.
She received a temporary protective order from the court — and then at a subsequent hearing on Feb. 23, 2016, got a 12-month protective order.
“The respondent shall vacate the home immediately,” District Judge Zuberi B. Williams said of Kevin McGuigan.
There was no indication, from online filings, that there was a request to extend the order. As of this month, Kevin McGuigan was living in an apartment in North Bethesda, about five miles from his mother’s house, court records show.
Sometime Friday, according to court records, he called his mother from his cellphone and asked if she would meet with him.
By 5:30 p.m., he had arrived at the townhouse, where his sister saw him and their mother drive off in Jaclyn McGuigan’s Honda Accord, police accounts state. They ended up at a parking lot outside St. Raphael along Dunster Road, west of Interstate 270.
It is unclear why they were at the church; the pastor declined to speak to a reporter Sunday.
About 6 p.m., two witnesses at the church heard noises. “The witnesses proceeded towards the screaming voice and observed a female lying on the ground,” detectives wrote in an arrest application.
A man standing over the victim appeared to be in his early to mid-20s, with dark hair, the arrest application said, and witnesses saw him run. One saw him get into a Honda and drive away — and apparently was able to record the license plate, according to the arrest application.
According to the court records, at least one witness tried lifesaving procedures until medics arrived. Jaclyn McGuigan was pronounced dead at the scene.
At 6:49 p.m., police found her Honda at a park across Falls Road from the church. They called Kevin McGuigan’s cellphone number. Inside the car, they could not only see that a phone was ringing, but also that the phone appeared to have blood on it, according to court documents.
Detectives also went to Jaclyn McGuigan’s home and informed her children she was dead. Her younger son — now 18 — “immediately asked if Kevin killed their mother,” detectives wrote. The younger brother also told them Kevin had attacked him in 2016, according to court records.
It wasn’t clear where Kevin McGuigan went after he allegedly killed his mother. But at 7 a.m. Saturday, police said, they took him into custody at a gas station in Rockville.
Everette said Jaclyn McGuigan’s children attended nursery school and completed their sacraments at St. Raphael.
Outside the school and church Sunday, bouquets and poinsettias were clustered around a flagpole.
Someone had left a postcard with an image of a painting of a woman in a yellow veil clutching an infant. On the back were the words: “Rest in Peace.”
Moriah Balingit contributed to this report.