Kevin Cooney told a jury Monday that he’s never told anyone that his mother shot him and tearfully recalled how he “beat the (expletive) out of her” before he was shot during the struggle.
“I’m so sorry mom. I’m sorry,” he said, while wiping tears away with a white wash cloth.
Prosecutors say Linda Cooney shot Kevin Cooney in June 2011 during a feud over his then-girlfriend. Prosecutors say that before the shooting Linda Cooney was trying to sabotage her son’s relationship by sending text messages to an employer saying his girlfriend was “an evil whore.” She had sabotaged her son’s previous relationships before, they say.
Linda Cooney, 66, faces four counts, including attempted murder, battery with use of a deadly weapon and intimidating a witness. She also is charged with stalking Kevin Cooney’s ex-girlfriend, Karina Taylor. If convicted of all counts she faces 3- to 65-years in prison.
Kevin Cooney testified via video-conference from a University Medical Center hospital bed where he is being treated for an illness. Kevin Cooney, who following the shooting was diagnosed as an incomplete quadriplegic, meaning he has some movement in his arms and legs, has never told authorities what happened that morning.
During more than an hour of testimony Monday morning, Kevin Cooney told a very similar story to what his brother, Las Vegas Police Officer Christopher Cooney, had testified to last week about what happened about 8 a.m. June 28, 2011.
After the 6-foot, 9-inch tall former bouncer attacked his mother and threatened to kill her, Kevin Cooney said he went for a .357-caliber handgun hidden near the downstairs sofa. His mother got it first and fled. He jumped on her and grabbed the gun. As he pulled the gun away from her, it fired, striking him in the neck.
Prosecutors have multiple witnesses who say after the shooting Kevin Cooney told them he was scared of his mother because she shot him.
On cross examination by Linda Cooney’s lawyer Michael Becker, Kevin Cooney’s tone turned from sorrowful to angry, as he let loose expletive-laced and misogynistic testimony.
Kevin Cooney took aim at former girlfriends, describing them as sexual predators and untrustworthy, who were all scheming against him. “It’s not my fault that these women go crazy,” he said.
He described his relationship with Clarita Kendall as a “three and a half year long fatal attraction experience.”
Kevin Cooney said Taylor lied to him about working in a strip club.
Both women are expected to testify that Linda Cooney tried to sabotage their relationships with Kevin Cooney later on in the trial.
But Kevin Cooney saved the worst for his mother.
“Mom does what I say or mom gets the fist,” Kevin Cooney said, describing his relationship with the defendant. “I was a jerk, a bully.”
Kevin Cooney said investigators got it right the first time, when they arrested him early on in the case on domestic violence charges early. Those charges were later dropped after authorities theorized that Linda Cooney shot her son.
Kevin Cooney said his mother has taken the fall for him before.
Years ago, in another domestic violence incident, police arrested his mother instead of him, even though he pointed a gun at her, Kevin Cooney said. He said his mother offered to be arrested instead of her son because she hit him with a cake icing spatula.
The morning of the shooting, Kevin Cooney said he was fighting his mother because Linda Cooney kept meddling in his relationship with Taylor. “I couldn’t get her (Linda Cooney) to listen to me anymore. I lost control of my mom,” he said. “Mom needed to keep her goddamn mouth shut.”
Despite the vitriolic testimony, during breaks in questioning Kevin Cooney would weep and say he was sorry to his mother.
He then described how after being shot in the neck and realizing he couldn’t move his legs, he asked his mother to shoot him in the head. “She wouldn’t do it,” he said weeping.
The jury also learned that Kevin Cooney was shot with the same handgun Linda Cooney used to shoot and kill her ex-husband and his father, James Cooney, more than two decades ago in Florida. A Florida jury acquitted Linda Cooney of murder charges after they found she had shot her husband in self-defense in 1992. Linda Cooney said she shot James Cooney after he attacked her with a kitchen knife in her home.
As an 11-year-old, Kevin Cooney testified on his mother’s behalf at the murder trial.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @fjmccabe