Linda Cooney

I had heard of this story before but a recent episode of a documentary series reminded me of this case and I decided to research this as my next blog.  As usual, the research gave me a lot more insight of the case and the people involved and in this instance I was left with a true understanding.

One of the articles that I read while researching the case indicated that the prosecutor had called Linda Cooney a hoarder.  I saw no other reference to this aside from this article but as someone who is familiar with the behaviors associated with those who are considered to be hoarders, things made more and more sense to me and Linda Cooney seemed to fit this mold to a tee.  Sometimes the physical view of hoarding takes time to be present, mainly due to the fact that a true hoarder has done it for decades and often they are good about doing things such as moving to a bigger home, making additions to the home they have or even buying storage units to store their "stuff" to the point they can almost hide their hoard until much later.  What they cannot hide are their character traits.  These include things like having to have control over everyone and everything in their lives and yet when they do not have control or things have not gone their way they express to anyone who will listen that they are the victim.  It is always some one else's fault that something happened and the hoarder had nothing to do with anyone else's behavior.  One example from this case is at her sentencing Linda Cooney stood up and told the court basically what a good mother she had been and how she had tried to raise her children the best that she could.  In turn she had blamed her son Kevin for his shooting and in court stated that he had anger and temper issues "that he must have inherited from his father."  This is the same father that twenty years before she was sentenced for shooting her son, she had shot and killed claiming self defense.  She was acquitted in that case and apparently thought she would be acquitted again and when she wasn't it was a miscarriage of justice because she was a "victim."

Linda Cooney had once been married to James Cooney a prominent tax attorney in Palm Beach Florida.  They were considered to be high society but the marriage had ended in a bitter divorce. It was said that Linda was preventing James from seeing their two children, Kevin and Christopher.  On February 7, 1992 James showed up with a court order forcing Linda to allow him to see the boys. By the time the day was over James would be dead from multiple gun shot wounds from a .357 magnum.  Linda would claim that James had come after her with a knife but the prosecutors did not believe her and charged her with his murder.  Kevin, who was eleven at the time, told the police initially that he and his brother were hiding in the other room but he was looking through a hole and he did not see anything in his father's hand. Investigators decided to charge her not only because Kevin had stated that he had not seen anything in his father's hands but also because Linda had no defensive wounds on her. In 1993 when his mom went on trial his story changed.  He testified to the jury that he saw something that had a "glary shine" to it.  Many believe that it was this testimony that convinced the jury to acquit Linda on the charges.

Most of the people of Palm Beach believed Linda got away with murder and all but pushed her out of their community.  She then moved to the Las Vegas area with her two sons.  The boys had benefited from a $1 million dollar life insurance policy and they received survivor benefits from their father's death.  In essence this all went to Linda.  She would later say that the money was all gone by 2000 due to the move, and the fact that she decided to live off that money and not work so she could stay home and raise her boys.  In 2004 she gave her only interview ever on the subject to a Palm Beach reporter.  He stated in his article he thought she did the interview simply to show the people who had ousted her from Palm Beach that she had come out alright despite their snubbing of her.  She was quoted as saying that neither she, nor the boys, talked about the shooting of James and said "What is there to talk about?  I shot a guy who was going to kill me.  I felt nothing. No sadness. No remorse."

In reality the Cooney home sounds as if it was a nightmare.  In 2011 Kevin was 30 years old working as a bouncer, among other jobs, living with his mother.  His brother who was just a few years younger was a Las Vegas police officer but he too lived at home.  Linda had apparently continued to never work but controlled the money her "grown sons" brought home.  The control did not stop there.  She also apparently controlled their cell phones and determined who they could and could not contact for the most part.  The documentary episode that I recently watched had one of the prosecutors say she referred to them as "boys" despite the fact that they were grown men. According to her the control was obvious when you walked into the home as neither of the boys even had doors to their bedrooms. Over the course of the years Kevin at least had a few girlfriends but Linda was always there to make sure things did not go to far.  She had intimidated and ran off at least one over the years.

The one thing I think most people agree with about June 28, 2011 is that it is likely that Linda and Kevin had an argument over his girlfriend, Karina Taylor.  According to investigators, as well as Karina, Kevin was ready to move out of his mother's home.  He had expressed things in social media referring to this also.  Prosecutors claim Linda was not having it and she had already tried to fix it, which is likely what part of the fight was about. Apparently Linda knew Kevin was on the verge of moving out or at least she thought he was getting too close to Karina that it could be an option.  Linda had sent text out to co-workers of Karina's calling her things like an "evil whore" and a "succubus."  She had also contacted a non-profit organization in which Karina volunteered for saying that she was laundering money and dealing drugs.  What happened next is what is in dispute.

What we do know is that two 911 calls were made that day, first one came in from Christopher Cooney.  Christopher would tell the 911 operator that Kevin attacked his mother and in the process had been shot.  In her call Linda would simply say that he was shot but would not indicate how or why.  The funny thing about Linda and these shootings is that in 1992 when she shot her ex-husband instead of calling 911 first she called a lawyer friend of hers.  In 2011, again, instead of calling 911, she called Christopher first.  Prosecutors would argue that Linda and Christopher talked for approximately fifteen minutes while Kevin lay on the floor with a gunshot wound to his neck, bleeding profusely.  When the EMT's and police arrived Linda would claim that she and Kevin had argued earlier but that she had gone and laid down and she had not heard anything but when she got up she simply found Kevin with a gunshot wound.  It would quickly be discovered that Kevin was shot with the same gun that had killed his father in 1992.  Linda would claim that the gun was kept openly in the front room for protection.

Kevin was rushed to the hospital in a near death condition.  When he would later awaken he would tell a nurse, "I'm afraid of mom; Mom shot me."  He apparently would tell several of the nurses that his mother had shot him.  The gunshot wound would leave Kevin completely paralyzed from the waist down and partially from the neck down.  He is what is considered to be an incomplete quadriplegic.  This means that an injury has caused significant damage to all four of his limbs.  Kevin would later tell his ex girlfriend, Clarita Kendall that he was sitting on the couch and that his mother had shot him.  

Still having Kevin's confession it took another three months for authorities to charge Linda with the attempted murder of her son.  By the time it was over, several more charges would be added including battery with a deadly weapon, intimidating a witness and the stalking of Kevin's girlfriend Karina Taylor.  For his part, Kevin had a change of heart before Linda would face trial.  Kevin had been cooperating with authorities until about five months after his injury and a few months after his mother's arrest.  Prosecutors would claim that Kevin's brother, Christopher, had gone to the hospital to visit him and had used his cell phone to call his mother, who then talked to Kevin.  Just after this incident Kevin stopped cooperating with the police.  In fact, at her trial both of her sons testified on her behalf.  

For their part the prosecution had a lot of evidence.  By now Linda was saying that yes, they had been arguing over Kevin's relationship with Karina but she was claiming that Kevin had been abusive to her and while sometimes she seemed to indicate she shot him in self defense, just as she had claimed with his father, most of the story revolved around stating Kevin had shot himself.  Prosecutors not only had Kevin's initial words to several different people in which he stated Linda had shot him, but they also showed that once again Linda had no defensive wounds.  They would claim that she had one single bruise on her breast that was consistent with the recoil of the gun.   However, despite what the jury would hear later from both Kevin and Christopher, it seems the most compelling testimony came from Kevin's ex girlfriend, Clarita Kendall.  The story she related to the jury about what Kevin had told her soon after his shooting seemed to be consistent with the evidence and the trajectory of the bullet wound.  The prosecution also showed proof of the control that Linda had exhibited over her boys and that Kevin was trying to break from that bond.  Most importantly, they were able to tell the jury about Linda shooting James in 1992.  Of course the defense argued to keep that information out of the hands of the jury, and they were never told of Kevin's role in her acquittal but the judge had allowed information in, including that the same gun had been used in both shootings.

Kevin would get up on the stand and state that he had shot himself and even told the jury that he was an angry and abusive person, to which those who knew him prior to the shooting had disputed.  He even went so far as to get on the stand and state "Mom does what I say or mom gets the fist."  It was plainly obvious that Kevin, and his brother Christopher, were doing all they could to ensure their mother once again was acquitted despite what the evidence said.  

The jury did not believe Kevin or the defense theory and in April of 2014 they would find Linda guilty on all charges, including the stalking of Karina Taylor.  In July of 2014 she was sentenced to 13-41 years.  Most amazingly Linda stood up and made an outrageous statement at her sentencing hearing.  Of course, as many convicted defendants do, she proclaimed she was innocent, but on top of that she continued to blame Kevin saying the "accident" was all his fault.  But what she said next was truly amazing.  She would claim how she had worked so hard as a single mother to raise her boys properly but that Kevin "carried with him an anger and rage that he must have inherited from his father."  This to me is classic hoarder behavior.  Not only did she stand up and refuse to take any sort of blame for what had happened, going as far as calling herself a victim, she had managed to blame her ex husband, a man she had murdered, as the reason her son had anger issues.  

As is the case with most convictions, Linda's team has filed an appeal.  Her largest complaint is that evidence of James' shooting was allowed into her trial.  I was unable to determine if the appeal has been ruled upon.  Apparently however both of her son's continue to support her and have contact with her.  Prosecutors believe that she brainwashed them into believing that if she had not killed their father he would have killed them and so by doing so she had saved their lives and somehow they owe her.  

So often we are shaped by the attitudes of our parents.  Some children are easily led to believe and trust anything, and everything that is told to them by a parent.  We are a society who despite cases such as these, are raised to believe that our parents have our best interests at heart and would never harm us.  Emotional abuse is much harder to notice from a child's perspective.  A parent is obviously supposed to discipline and guide their child so it is often hard to see the overbearing and controlling parent when the children are minors and by the time they are adults they have generally been conditioned in a way that is often hard to break away from.  Linda was finally losing control of one of her children.  Kevin had finally decided, likely with the help of friends, that the way he was living and the control his mother had over him was not normal.  This would not do for Linda.  She had raised her boys to worship her and take care of her.  They supported her once the social security and insurance money from their father ran out.  Although it was never indicated in anything I have read or seen I also have to wonder if there were other things going on in that home that had not come out.  In nothing that I have researched was their ever any indication that Linda ever had another serious relationship in her life.  Her boys were her life and she controlled them and that seemed to be enough, but was it?  It is not uncommon for women such as the likes of Linda to also be at least on the line of physical or sexual abuse. Women like Linda try to convince young boys that their mother is all the woman they need in their lives.  We can only hope that despite their continued contact with their mother while she is in jail that the boys can somehow learn to move forward and live normal lives, or as normal as possible and realize that their mother was not always the best thing for them.   

Comments

  1. Replies
    1. so is kevin for thinking its no big deal that his mom put a hole in his neck and now we taxpayers have to foot his care,roll him in a corner and forget him,if he cant admit that he didnt shoot himself and that mommy dearest did then why pity thump the guy?? he is nothing

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  2. so is kevin for standing up for mommy dearest knowing good and damn well she killed his pops and then shot kevin in the neck! obviously he does not give a damn that he was shot,,by his mother,,through the neck,,with the same gun she took pops out with,,and is now relying on taxpayers for his medical care,,if thats how he feels roll his ass in a corner and forget about him instead of all this pity thumping for a handicapped man that has no problem what so ever that he is in the shape he is in,,to hell with the rest of us keeping his dumbass alive daily by pulling the 9 to 5

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  3. Her adult "boys" should not be allowed to see her without a professional present. They have an entire other family in FL they don't even know. Time for them to reunite with their father's family. Linda deserves to never have a visitor or time with her twisted children.

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  4. Today the Nevada Supreme Court reversed Linda Cooney's conviction and ordered a new trial. http://caseinfo.nvsupremecourt.us/public/caseView.do?csIID=34377

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    1. I can only gander to guess that the state will appeal the decision. As I read it in was revered solely on the fact that the 1992 shooting was mentioned in this trial. Only time will tell what happens.

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