Kingston reeling in wake of murder

KINGSTON — Residents in the North End and Bainbridge Island are still trying to gather their thoughts and feelings after a brutal killing left one man dead and his son in jail charged with second degree murder.

At about 4:50 p.m. Oct. 11, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office deputies received a call regarding a domestic dispute on the 25000 block of South Kingston Road.

Upon arrival, they discovered Jeffrey Allen McKinstry, 53, who had been stabbed multiple times with a knife between 4- and 8-inches long, deputies said. A moment later, they found Garrett James McKinstry, 21, who had allegedly stabbed his father, following him from the home’s kitchen outside onto the driveway as Jeffrey McKinstry was attempting to flee, KCSO officials said.

Once Jeffrey McKinstry was dead, deputies said Garrett James McKinstry allegedly doused the body in gasoline and lit it afire to make it “disappear,” but quickly extinguished the fire and called his mother, KCSO officials said.

Garrett James McKinstry was booked into the Kitsap County Jail at 1:08 a.m. Oct. 12 on the charge of first degree murder. Bail was set at $1 million. He made his first appearance in court at 3 p.m. Oct. 12 in Kitsap County Superior Court on the charge of second degree murder. The Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office determined the new charge. Garrett James McKinstry was scheduled to have his second appearance in court yesterday for a formal arraignment.

All of this is leading up to what KCSO Public Information Officer Scott Wilson said the detectives are working to reveal — the reason behind the apparent homicide.

North End residents are wondering why it happened as well, how a man — who worked in the North Kitsap School District from 1989 to 1995, and later at Ordway Elementary School on Bainbridge Island as a student counselor — could allegedly be stabbed by his son, a 2004 North Kitsap High School graduate who was remembered by many as a star basketball player and a good kid.

“I just thought it was a very tragic and sad event,” said Kingston resident Nancy Martin, who lives nearby. “A neighbor called me and told me about it. I didn’t know anything about it, I came home and saw all the police cars there. It was unnerving.”

She said she didn’t know the family well, and hopes this fades quickly from Kingston’s collective memory so the community can try to heal from the experience.

Kingston resident and Port of Kingston Commissioner Pete DeBoer said incidents like this happen at some point in every neighborhood, large and small, and they are always upsetting. Wilson said there hasn’t been a murder in Kingston in recent history the KCSO can report, but there was a murder in Poulsbo of a social worker by one of his patients in November 2005, and a murder in Suquamish in 2001 involving neighbors.

“I know it happens everywhere, you just don’t think about it happening here,” said Kingston resident Karen Ross. “In a small town, even if you didn’t know him, you know someone who did know him.”

Dan Weedin was acquainted with Jeffrey McKinstry through coaching girls basketball at North Kitsap High School. He said during the first year he coached in 2000, Jeffrey McKinstry was his assistant and they worked well together and had a lot of fun. Jeffrey McKinstry’s daughter was on the team at the time, and Weedin said Jeffrey McKinstry stopped coaching after that year to watch Garrett James McKinstry’s basketball games.

“It’s shocking,” he said. “Jeff was my assistant coach my very first year, 2000-2001. It was the only year he coached. We weren’t really close, but we talked every once in a while... It’s hard to believe something like this would happen. Garrett followed his sister into North Kitsap High School. He was a good basketball player, and a nice kid. He didn’t seem like he would do this.”

Wilson said there will most likely be a trial, and through the process the reason behind Jeffrey McKinstry’s death may become clear.

Garrett James McKinstry faced his formal arraignment at 3 p.m. yesterday. Results was not available at press time.

A memorial service will be held for Jeffrey McKinstry at 2 p.m. Oct. 20 at Woodward Middle School, 9125 Sportsman Club Rd., on Bainbridge Island.

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