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Jury finds Monahan guilty
Kyle Monahan, testifying during his trial on Monday, Oct. 7. -Photo by Tallitha Reese

A Lafayette County jury convicted Kyle Monahan, 24, of Shullsburg, of Homicide by Intoxicated use of a Vehicle, Homicide while Operating a Vehicle with Prohibited Alcohol Concentration (PAC) and Homicide by Negligent Use of a Vehicle on Tuesday, Oct. 8.

Monahan was involved in a fatal car crash on August 20, 2011 that took the life of his girlfriend at the time, Rebecca Cushman, of Maine.

The jury trial began on Monday, Sept. 30 and was scheduled to last until Friday, Oct. 11, according to the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website, but the case was given over to jury members for deliberation on Tuesday, Oct. 8.

The Homicide by Intoxicated use of a Vehicle and Homicide by Use of a Vehicle with PAC charges are class D felonies and each have a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, a $100,000 fine and revocation of a driver’s license for five years. The Homicide by Negligent Operation of a Vehicle charge is a class G felony and has a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. 

Delete - MergeLafayette County Circuit Court’s Judge William Johnston has ordered a presentence investigation and a sentencing hearing has been set for January 3, 2014 at 1 p.m.

Monahan was represented in court by attorney Thomas Schrader, while district attorney Kate Findley, assisted by assistant attorney general, Tara Jenswold, led the prosecution.

During the seven-day trial several witnesses were called to testify in front of the court and jury, including Monahan himself.

Monahan claimed while on the stand that Cushman was the one driving her own car when the two left a party before that fatal crash on Aug. 20, but stated that he doesn’t remember anything after leaving the location of the party until waking up in the hospital.

When asked how much he had to drink at the party, Monahan said he thought he had about five or six beers, “not that many really,” before he left with Cushman.

Monahan also claimed during a cross examination by district attorney, Kate Findley, that he did not remember an interview with a state trooper on Aug. 30, 2011 during which he reportedly said he had no idea who was driving when the accident happened.

When Findley asked him if he remembered telling officials at the scene of the crash “I was driving I guess,” Monahan said he could not remember anything from that night either.

According to the criminal complaint, the rollover crash happened around 7:45 p.m. on Aug. 20, 2011 when Monahan and Cushman were traveling eastbound on Dunbarton Road in Cushman’s 2001 Saab when the vehicle left the roadway and traveled a distance before striking a creek embankment and rolling numerous times. Monahan and Cushman were both ejected from the vehicle.

Cushman was taken to Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County where she was pronounced dead and Monahan was transferred to a Rockford, Ill. hospital by helicopter with multiple injuries.