Investigation Into The Murder Of Openly Gay Ohio Coal Miner Reveals A Secret Affair

The killer “was terrified [of] what Brad McGarry could do to blow up his life,” police say.

Brad McGarry, pictured here in a baseball hat, was a 43-year-old coal miner and hairdresser at the time of his murder.

On May 7, 2017, Brad McGarry, a 43-year-old coal miner and hairdresser, was found fatally shot at his Ohio home. The investigation into his death revealed a secret affair with his best friend.

Photo by: Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "The Murder Tapes")

Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "The Murder Tapes")

By: Aaron Rasmussen

A man in Ohio found the body of his best friend — and the emotional aftermath of the grim discovery was caught on police body cameras.

On May 7, 2017, Brad McGarry, a 43-year-old coal miner and hairdresser, reportedly had dinner with family but then excused himself because he said he had to get back to his Bellaire home to meet someone.

Around 6:15 that evening, David Kinney, his wife Cheri and their daughter stopped by McGarry’s residence. McGarry failed to answer the door, so David entered the basement and found the victim’s body in a pool of blood.

McGarry had been shot in the head.

In footage recorded on responding officers’ body cams, the couple appear upset, and David tells police the victim was one of his closest friends. “I’m trying not to freak out, I’m sorry,” the distraught man says. “I can’t not stop seeing that.”

The Kinneys explain they often spend holidays with McGarry and had plans to go with him to the Bahamas that August.

Initially suspecting suicide, detectives ask the couple if McGarry ever battled depression in the past. Detectives, however, could not locate a firearm at the scene and quickly determine the case could be a homicide, possibly committed during a robbery gone wrong.

On the body cam video, the Kinneys tell officers that McGarry was gay and had recently broken up with a man. “The last relationship he was in, it cooled off,” Cheri notes, adding their friend hadn’t been with anyone since.

According to police, detectives later located the ex-boyfriend she referenced and quickly ruled him out as a suspect in McGarry’s murder.

Investigators got a huge break in the case when another of McGarry’s longtime friends revealed McGarry had met another coal miner known as DJ and had been having a secret on-off sexual relationship with him. The friend said McGarry and his lover had problems because DJ was married to a woman and not out of the closet.

The friend then revealed DJ’s real name: David Kinney.

Police brought David in for questioning, and he agreed to let detectives search his phone. They recovered texts and voicemail messages that confirmed the two had been intimate with each other. Detectives also collected GPS data from the device and learned David was near McGarry’s home around the time of the killing.

Surveillance video from a neighbor’s home also put David at the scene. “At one point in the surveillance video, you’ll see David Kinney arriving at Brad’s home driving his wife’s car,” Chief Detective Ryan Allar of the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office says of the footage. “You’ll see Brad return home. And then, shortly after Brad returns home, you’ll see David Kinney leaving the area.”

Several hours later, Allar says, David returns to McGarry’s home in his truck with his wife and daughter.

During questioning, David admitted to the affair with McGarry but initially denied he was at his friend’s house when he was killed. Four hours into the interview, however, Kinney begins to crack. “Brad did want me to leave my wife for a while,” he tells a detective, video shows. “It’s hard, you know? With this situation, me and him.”

According to Chief Detective Allar, David claimed McGarry threatened he would tell his wife about their affair. David then claimed he killed McGarry in self-defense after the two got into a struggle when McGarry pulled a .22-caliber pistol on him and he snatched it away.

According to Kinney, he shot his friend in the front of the head. The results of an autopsy, however, disputed Kinney’s version of events and determined the victim was shot twice in the back of the head.

“David Kinney was terrified [of] what Brad McGarry could do to blow up his life,” Chief Allar says of David’s motive for committing murder.

David was arrested in February 2018. The now-36-year-old was convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to life without parole.

“The ironic thing is, David killed somebody that loved him because he was so afraid of this secret … being revealed,” Detective Sergeant Doug Cruse of the Belmond County Sheriff’s Office says. “And what’s sad is that now everybody knows anyway.”

For more on this case, stream The Murder Tapes: “Scene of the Crime” on Max.

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