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Girlfriend charged with homicide in CO’s death

Jessica Lynn Alinsky was taken into custody by state police at Hazleton at her place of employment

By Amanda Christman
The Citizens’ Voice

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — One day after a coroner’s inquest jury ruled that a Hazle Township man was killed in 2011, state police charged the victim’s girlfriend with homicide.

Wearing medical scrubs, her hands and feet shackled, Jessica Lynn Alinsky was taken into custody by state police at Hazleton at her place of employment in Pottsville.

The 29-year-old was charged with the death of Matthew Ryan Gailie, the 34-year-old prison guard who died from a gunshot wound to the face.

His death - up until Tuesday - was listed as “undetermined” by the Luzerne County Coroner’s Office.

Alinsky, now of Shenandoah, claimed in several different stories to police that Gailie, her live-in boyfriend, killed himself at 247 Muskegon Circle on Sept. 2, 2011.

She smiled as she walked past media cameras while being led to Magisterial District Judge James Dixon’s office in Hazle Township for her preliminary arraignment.

She arrived at the office around 4 p.m., but the hearing was delayed a few minutes after confusion arose over whether her attorney would attend the hearing.

While Alinsky’s attorney, Gary Marchalk, did not attend the hearing, he did speak to Alinsky over the phone in the courtroom, explaining the preliminary arraignment proceeding.

During the arraignment, Alinsky said she had lived in Shenandoah since Sept. 3, 2011, the day after Gailie’s death.

Alinsky told Dixon she had a prior conviction for driving under the influence. Trooper James Surmick added that Alinsky also had a drug conviction. According to court papers, Alinsky pleaded guilty in both cases in August 2009 and was sentenced to probation. Both cases occurred in Schuylkill County.

Since homicide is a non-bailable offense, Dixon told Alinsky she would automatically be housed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility until her preliminary hearing Aug. 9.

Assistant District Attorney Daniel Zola was confident in the evidence procured by the commonwealth. Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said her office has a “strong case.”

“The investigators did a phenomenal job,” Zola said.

He said investigators were left with a crime scene that contained forensic evidence that did not match witness statements and a crime scene that was manipulated, making the investigatory process complicated.

There was also the rare coroner’s inquest, which Zola said has not been used much in the past but may be used more often in the future as an investigatory tool.

Alinsky was called to testify Monday during the inquest but invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Marchalk said his client maintains her innocence.

State police said Alinsky gave multiple inconsistent statements to police, and there was a 15-minute lapse of time between the shot being fired and Alinsky’s 911 call. Alinsky, police wrote, told officers various accounts of what happened the night Gailie died and on Sept. 4, 2011, admitted to moving his body, placing the pistol in his hand and not immediately calling 911 for help.

The gun, according to evidence, was held 5 to 7 inches away from Gailie’s face when it was fired, while typically guns are held close to the skin in a suicide. The fatal bullet that hit Gailie went in through his left nostril and then through his brain. The gun, a Springfield XD 9mm semi-automatic pistol, was found in Gailie’s left hand. Gailie was right-handed.