Slaying Victim Katie Gillihan was '02 Benicia High Grad

Neighbors at Military East townhomes are shaken after death discovered.

Neighbors talked Sunday about the shock of learning that a young neighbor had been found  just beyond a shared wall in a townhouse near the entrance to the Benicia Arsenal. 

Katherine "Katie" Gillihan was found dead in her home at 804 Military East, Benicia police said. She was 26 and was a 2002 graduate of Benicia High School.

Police arrested her boyfriend, Adam Wade Disa, 28, on suspicion of murder. Disa had been staying with her in the home.

Police were notified by concerned co-workers after Gillihan did not show up for work at Rasputin’s Music in Vallejo, where she and Disa worked.

Disa was arrested at 10:12 p.m. Friday in the Taco Bell parking lot at 700 Military West. At the time of his arrest, he was on parole for a felony assault conviction in 2008. He was booked into the Solano County Jail in Fairfield.

“I’m very saddened,” said neighbor Brian Hathaway. “You could tell Katie was a very nice soul.”

Paul Metzker, another neighbor, said he frequently complained to police about noise and what he thought were arguments in the residence. But Benicia police Lt. Mike Daley said there were no records of domestic disturbance or domestic violence complaints involving the residence. Neither Hathaway nor Metzker could confirm whether Disa was living at the residence at the time of the murder. “I just noticed (Disa) being around in the last three or four weeks.” Metzker said.

Daley said several residents were interviewed after the body was discovered.

Gillihan lived in the quiet townhouse community for about seven years, according to neighbors.

Hathaway said neighbors are friendly, but more or less keep to themselves and consider the area to be safe. The complex, which is governed by a homeowners association, is near the east end of Military East with signs that state “No Trespassing.” The sidewalks are clean and the grass is nicely maintained. The only indication that anything was amiss Sunday morning was a white candle burning beside a small bouquet of roses in front of Gillihan’s residence.

“I still feel safe,” Hathaway said, “but I still really don’t know what happened.”

Robert J. Stalknecht February 14, 2011 at 07:38 PM
Katie was placed with Ron and Donna Gillihan a few days after she was born in Houston, Texas, in 1984. We only got to meet htis past December, and after DNA testing, it was established that I'm her father. She had a good life with the Gillihans, and she and I got along astonishingly well together. We even discussed the possibility of her relocating to Houston for college. We only had a short time together, but were identical in many ways. Her most frequent comment when we were together was, "...So THAT'S where I get that from!" I only got to know her briefly, but I wanted to be her other dad. Katie will be missed. She was a good person, with an amazing amount of independence and integrity...everything anyone could want in a daughter.
Matt Clarke February 15, 2011 at 01:58 AM
Katie and I had been an acquainted for some time, but only recently had my fiance and I began to become friends. Only once in a very rare while do you really hit it off with a person, and this was the case with the two of us and Katie, just a few months ago. We had just recently made plans with her and were looking forward to seeing her this weekend. This is so awful, I spoke with her shortly before this happened, and I wish I could have put the pieces together and said or did something differently so that maybe this tragedy could have been avoided. In the short time we had been talking with Katie, we really connected, that's just what kind of person she was. My heart goes out to all her close friends and family, this is something that never should have happened. Rest in peace Katie.
Tessa February 15, 2011 at 02:23 AM
There was something truly magnetic about Katie. She was more fun than words can describe, and so beautiful... (with the greatest hair!). I'm grateful to have known her, and deeply saddened that something so terrible happened to someone so wonderful.
Lucky February 15, 2011 at 05:47 AM
I'll miss you Katie. I'll remember our safety pin days, our last trip to Berkeley together, our late night 3 am walmart shopping, the way you laughed and how much your friendship meant to me. Katie was so much fun, a good spirit, an amazing person. I have very fond memories of Katie. Go warriors!
Robert Avery February 18, 2011 at 03:40 AM
I remember the first time I met Katie well, she was an individual in the ocean of conformity that was High School. I knew from the moment I saw her that she was someone i would get along with well. Katie, Christina Reyes and I soon became close friends, they named us the SWA. We always had fun together, whether we were just hanging out dying our hair and making weird noises (I still don't know why she loved that so much), walking around town, or on one of our trips to Berkeley. On one trips Katie sat on the sidewalk and asked everyone walking by if they spoke german, in german after 20 minutes of this a man replied with a very surprised Da! She was so delighted. She never refrained from doing something others might consider weird, she loved it. Katie deserved so much more out of life, she had so much potential. i will always remember her as a bright spot in a bland colorless world. My heart goes out to her parents, and all that loved her. She will never be forgotten.


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