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Woman looks forward to ‘next chapter’ after resolving case tied to son’s shooting

A 74-year-old woman who pleaded guilty in a 2011 shooting that left her son paralyzed was released from probation on Wednesday.

Linda Cooney initially was convicted of attempted murder for a June 28, 2011, shooting that injured her son Kevin. But in 2017, the Nevada Supreme Court reversed the conviction, finding that jurors should not have been allowed to hear evidence that Cooney’s son was shot in the neck with the same gun she used to kill her husband decades earlier.

On March 11, three days before another trial was set to begin, Cooney pleaded guilty to a felony count of battery with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor count of battery constituting domestic violence.

She appeared in court Wednesday for her sentencing hearing after District Judge Ronald Israel in March ordered her released from custody on her own recognizance.

District Judge Christy Craig sentenced Cooney to probation but immediately released her after she was given credit for time already served in custody.

“Was there anything you wanted to say, Ms. Cooney, before I pronounce sentence?” Craig asked, prompting the defendant to shake her head and softly say, “No.”

Cooney was allowed to change her plea of guilty of felony battery to guilty of a gross misdemeanor count of conspiracy to commit a crime. She entered what is known as an Alford plea, meaning she only admitted that prosecutors had enough evidence to prove her guilt.

“Ms. Cooney entered into a resolution on the advice of counsel whereby she did not have to admit guilt and the case was closed as a non-felony,” defense attorneys Michael Castillo and Sophie Salcedo said in a statement. “Ms. Cooney looks forward to the next chapter of her life.”

Following her 2014 conviction of attempted murder and other charges, Cooney initially was sentenced to 13 to 41 years in prison.

The state’s high court found that jurors should not have been told that Kevin Cooney was shot with the same .357 Magnum revolver used to kill Jim Cooney in 1992. Linda Cooney was acquitted in her husband’s death after a Florida jury found that she acted in self-defense.

Prosecutors have said Cooney shot her son because she did not want to lose him to his relationship with his then-girlfriend, whom Linda Cooney was also accused of stalking. During the 2014 trial, Kevin Cooney testified that he pulled a gun from his mother’s hands during a struggle and that he was pointing it at himself when it discharged.

However, multiple witnesses in the case have said Kevin Cooney told them his mother fired the gun.

Linda Cooney has said that her son’s injury was his own doing. Her other son, Metropolitan Police Department officer Christopher Cooney, also testified during the trial that the blame for the shooting fell on his brother.

After the trial, jurors indicated to prosecutors that they did not believe the brothers’ testimony.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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