Man charged with killing former Kentucky lawmaker’s daughter will go to trial in 2025

KSP, Herald-Leader file photo

A trial date has been set for the man accused of killing a former state lawmaker’s daughter during a deadly home invasion in Madison County last year.

Shannon Gilday, 24, is facing charges of murder, assault, three counts of attempted murder, burglary and criminal mischief for the incident, according to court records. On Friday Madison County Circuit Judge Cole Maier set Gilday’s trial date for May 5, 2025, according to court records.

The shooting occurred on Feb. 22, 2022, when Gilday allegedly broke into C. Wesley Morgan’s multi-million dollar home on Willis Branch Road in Richmond and shot Jordan Morgan while she was asleep in her bed, according to court records and statements from Wesley Morgan. Gilday also exchanged shots with Wesley Morgan, who fired back at Gilday. Morgan was injured and sent to the hospital.

After the alleged shooting, Gilday took off in his 2016 Toyota Corolla and drove all the way to Florida, according to court records. The same Corolla was spotted on surveillance footage at the Morgans’ home, according to court records. Gilday put a Georgia license plate on his car while he was out of state, but his vehicle broke down near Atlanta.

He abandoned the vehicle and eventually wound up back in Kentucky, where a sheriff’s deputy found him walking in Madison County on Feb. 28, 2022, according to court records. He has been lodged at the Madison County Detention Center since then.

During a preliminary hearing a few weeks later, Kentucky State Police detective Cameron Allen said Gilday admitted to the crime, stating he was determined to get access to a bunker underneath the home and was willing to kill everyone inside.

Gilday wanted to gain access to an underground bunker at Wesley Morgan’s home and had done extensive research on the bunker, according to court documents. Gilday had written notes about the bunker, the family’s sleep schedules and directions from his apartment in northern Kentucky down to the mansion.

“He wanted the security of the bunker,” Allen said during the preliminary hearing while describing what Gilday told him during their interview.

“He stated that his beliefs at the time, given the current political environment in our country as well in the world at this time, and the events that had taken place throughout the world, that he wanted to access this bunker and secure it for himself and his family and friends,” Allen said.

Gilday’s attorney attempted to have Gilday plead guilty but mentally ill in May to the charges against him, but the effort was denied by a judge. According to Gilday’s attorney, Tom Griffiths, Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith expressed opposition to the plea.

Griffiths filed a motion in January asking for the case to be dismissed or for Gilday to be released from jail due to constitutional violations pertaining to his incarceration, according to court documents.

Griffiths alleged that Gilday has exhibited signs of serious mental illness due to consistent isolation at the jail, such as believing that he’s talking to a bot when speaking to his mother over the phone.

Maier denied Griffiths’ motions due to a lack of evidence, according to WLEX18. Maier also ordered Gilday to go through a mental evaluation.

Wesley Morgan previously gave a firsthand account of the shooting to media. At a candlelight vigil for Jordan Morgan days after the shooting, he said Gilday climbed scaffolding on the exterior of his house and kicked a door open, which got him into Jordan Morgan’s bedroom, where she was asleep around 3:45 a.m. that morning.

Gilday “shot her probably six, seven, eight times with an AR-15,” Wesley Morgan said.

Morgan said he woke up when the shooting happened and confronted Gilday, who he saw with an AR-15 wearing army fatigues. Gilday opened fire on Morgan, who said he was shot three times. Morgan’s wife and 14-year-old daughter were home at the time.

Last month Wesley Morgan filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Gilday. Court records indicate the lawsuit was filed in Madison County Circuit Court for wrongful death and personal injury.

In addition to Gilday, Morgan is also suing a relative of Gilday and 10 “Jane Doe” defendants, according to court documents. A copy of the lawsuit was not available in online court records.