POSTED: 8:12 p.m. HST, Jul 9, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 8:47 p.m. HST, Jul 9, 2014
LAS VEGAS » A Nevada woman was sentenced to 13 to 41 years in prison after she was convicted of shooting and paralyzing her adult son some two decades after she was acquitted of murder in the death of her prominent tax attorney ex-husband in Florida.
Linda Cooney, 66, was sentenced during an emotional hearing in Las Vegas on Wednesday. In April, a jury found her guilty of charges including attempted murder, battery with a deadly weapon and intimidating a witness.
"I stand before you an innocent woman now wrongfully convicted," she said before hearing her sentence. "Please have mercy on me, your honor."
Prosecutors said Linda Cooney shot Kevin Cooney on June 28, 2011, while they fought about his relationship with his former girlfriend, Karina Taylor. Defense lawyers said Kevin Cooney, a 6-foot-9-inch former bouncer, attacked his mother during the argument and the gun — which was the same weapon used in James Cooney's death years earlier — went off accidentally.
Kevin Cooney was diagnosed as an incomplete quadriplegic after the shooting, meaning he has limited movement in his arms and legs. He testified in court during his mother's trial from a motorized wheelchair.
Prosecutors said that before the shooting, Linda Cooney had tried to sabotage her son's relationship by sending text messages to colleagues saying the girlfriend was evil. Another ex-girlfriend, Clarita Kendall, described a 2006 incident in which Linda Cooney confronted her and kicked her car while Kendall cowered inside.
Both ex-girlfriends said they knew Linda Cooney had killed her husband, and they feared her as a result.
A Florida jury acquitted Linda Cooney of murder in the 1992 death of her ex-husband, James Cooney, after concluding she shot him in self-defense. She said her ex-husband had attacked her with a kitchen knife.
Kevin Cooney defended his mother in both trials.
He was instrumental in her acquittal in the early 1990s, testifying that he saw his father with a shiny object, even though he initially told authorities his father had nothing in his hand just prior to his death.
He defended his mother in court again this spring, saying he was a bully and beat his mother for meddling in his relationships before he shot her.