BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio — The Belmont County man accused of fatally shooting a man in Bellaire last week appeared in court for a preliminary hearing on Thursday.

Thirty-year-old David Kinney of Brilliant is suspected in the murder of Brad McGarry, who was found shot to death in the basement of his Wagner Avenue home on May 7. Kinney has since been charged with a single count of murder with a gun specification.

While Kinney initially claimed that he found his friend dead on the night of the crime, he later told authorities that he shot McGarry in self defense after an argument escalated over stolen money and what Kinney described as a secret, romantic relationship between the two.

The Belmont County Prosecutor’s Office said that certain aspects of Kinney’s story still conflict with evidence – namely, that McGarry was shot twice in the back, which does not suggest a shooting in self defense. Though Kinney gave authorities the alleged location at which he discarded the murder weapon, investigators have yet to recover the .22 caliber handgun used in the shooting.

Kinney’s defense attorney on Thursday argued that his client feared for his life during the altercation with McGarry, and that a charge of involuntary manslaughter – not murder – would better suit the circumstances surrounding the crime.

Kinney remains in custody in the Belmont County Jail on $1 million bond. If convicted of his present charges, he faces a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 18 years.