As part of a deal with prosecutors that cut her potential prison time almost in half, the wife of Oceanside police chief and former Cypress City Councilman Frank McCoy was sentenced Friday to 15 years in state prison for shooting at police during a 2010 standoff.
Brinda McCoy, 49, could have faced up to 29 years behind bars, but prosecutors agreed to adjust the charges against her so the judge would have the leeway to hand down a lesser sentence.
McCoy was convicted June 18 of five counts of assault on a police officer for firing a gun from her Cypress home during the standoff. A sentencing enhancement found true by jurors meant that she faced a minimum punishment of 25 years and Orange County Superior Court Judge Francisco Briseno had no flexibility to adjust it.
Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Olivieri, however, took into account McCoy's suicide attempt days after her conviction, plus her career as a nurse and that her son and daughters have gone on to careers in public service and struck a deal with McCoy and her attorney.
McCoy attorney Lew Rosenblum -- who declined to comment after the hearing -- agreed to drop a motion for a new trial and any appeals. As McCoy was led away by sheriff's deputies, she turned to her husband, family and friends and said, "Thank you, everyone. Love you."
McCoy could be heard sobbing from her holding cell before the hearing.
Briseno praised the deal prosecutors crafted for McCoy.
"The District Attorney's efforts to modify (the charges) ... is a step well taken given your record and statement of mind at the time," Briseno told McCoy. "But you still face a challenge... This was the best that could be done... I hope you are able to do (the time) as best you can."
After the hearing, Olivieri said she always thought McCoy was trying tocommit suicide by cop when she dialed 911 on Dec. 16, 2010, after mixing Klonopin with a couple of martinis.
McCoy's suicide attempt in June just days after her conviction while she was allowed to remain out of custody only cemented the prosecutor's conviction.
Olivieri also considered that McCoy's son grew up to be a Long Beach police officer, one of her daughters is a dispatcher with the same department and another daughter is in the military.
McCoy's two-decade career in nursing and her extensive educational background was also considered, Olivieri said. Several of McCoy's patients wrote letters to the judge on her behalf, the prosecutor added.
"There's a lot she's done with her life that's very positive," Olivieri said.
Cypress police officers were OK with the resolution of the case, Olivieri said.
"It was our opinion that a 15-year sentence was an appropriate sentence and justice was served all around," Olivieri said.
McCoy must do 85 percent of her sentence, meaning she will spend at least 13 years behind bars, Olivieri said.
The prosecutor said she hopes the sentence will serve as an example to otherwise law-abiding citizens who handle a gun that they "will have to face the consequences."
Altering a jury's verdict to help a defendant receive a lesser sentence is unusual, Olivieri said.
"I've never done it before and I'm not aware of any other case where someone else has done it," Olivieri said.
At the time of the standoff, McCoy was suffering from depression and had a prescription for Wellbutrin, but it wasn't working so her physician prescribed Klonopin, Rosenblum said during the trial.
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.
About 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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