SANTA ANA (CNS) - The wife of Oceanside police chief and former Cypress City Councilman Frank McCoy was convicted Monday of five counts of assault on a police officer for firing a gun from the couple's Cypress home during a 2010 standoff.
Brinda McCoy, 49, was also convicted of discharging a firearm with gross negligence. She broke down sobbing when the jury's verdicts were read in a Santa Ana courtroom.
Jurors, who deliberated for about five hours, acquitted her on one count of assault on a police officer. Some jurors cried as the verdicts were read, but declined comment as they left the courthouse.
McCoy and her attorney, Lew Rosenblum, also did not comment.
McCoy will face at least 20 years in prison when she is sentenced Sept. 10, Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Olivieri said. McCoy could face another nine years for one of the assault counts, but Oliveri said the sentences for all the charges will likely be served concurrently.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Francisco Briseno allowed McCoy to remain free on $250,000 bail until her sentencing. A hearing is scheduled for Friday so Briseno can sign off on the terms of her release, including some sort of electronic monitoring and the surrendering of her passport.
During closing arguments Friday, McCoy's attorney insisted that his client wasn't firing at police, but Olivieri said that didn't absolve her of responsibility for shooting the weapon.
"I never said she was trying to shoot the police," Olivieri told jurors. "I don't have to prove the motive ... There's no requirement to show there was any intent to hurt any of the officers."
Olivieri argued that McCoy knew or reasonably should have known that there were police officers outside her home when she fired.
She contended that the defendant wanted to commit "suicide by cop."
Defense attorney Lew Rosenblum said his client was only guilty of discharging a weapon with gross negligence.
"We're not saying she's totally innocent. She did something that was wrong," Rosenblum told the jury. "We just hope that when you look at the case, that in the end you will find you don't believe 100 percent that she was shooting at the police officers."
According to her attorney, McCoy dialed 911 on Dec. 16, 2010, after mixing Klonopin with a couple of martinis. He said McCoy had been suffering from depression and had a prescription for Wellbutrin, but it wasn't working so her physician prescribed Klonopin.
Her 16-year-old son called in sick to his school that morning -- pretending to be his father -- so he could ditch classes, Rosenblum said. That upset McCoy, who got into an argument with her husband over it when he got home, Rosenblum said.
At some point, her husband decided to take his son and go to another relative's house, leaving the distraught defendant home alone, the defense attorney said.
McCoy test-fired her husband's duty weapon about 7:10 p.m., but decided she couldn't go through with turning the gun on herself, Rosenblum said.
According to the prosecution, she then called 911 and told the dispatcher she wanted to be taken out of her misery.
Cypress police arrived just after 7:15 p.m. and several officers positioned themselves behind three vehicles while McCoy paced and at times pointed the gun out the window of the home in the 4500 block of Tuscani Drive, Olivieri said.
Several times, McCoy demanded that police move her son's pickup truck, behind which some officers had taken position, while threatening to shoot at the vehicle, Olivieri said.
McCoy eventually fired the gun at the truck and at a Toyota Prius, leaving bullets in both vehicles, Olivieri said. One officer was so close to the bullet fired at the truck that she had to check herself to make sure she hadn't been shot, according to the prosecutor.
One officer, who was a friend of the family, tried to talk McCoy into surrendering and warned her that officers were behind the truck she was threatening to shoot at, Olivieri said.
"If you shot at the truck, there's a chance you'll hit one of the officers behind the truck," the officer told McCoy, according to Olivieri.
The prosecutor said the defendant responded, "I don't care. Move the truck or I will shoot."
McCoy insisted when testifying last week that she did not aim the weapon at the officers and was unaware they were behind the vehicles.
"I never pointed the gun at anybody, including the police officers," she testified. "I didn't hear anybody out there. I didn't see anybody out there."
Around 10 p.m., while McCoy was at the front door and apparently reaching to an area out of sight where police later found a gun, SWAT officers subdued her by shooting her with non-lethal bean bags, Olivieri said.
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