A Cortez woman accused of shooting a firearm at an acquaintance who had given her a ride to Farmington has pleaded guilty and faces up to 10 years in prison.
Kelsey Lynn Brown, 28, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, a Class 4 felony, according to a plea deal with the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
The guilty plea includes a sentence enhancer for a violent crime that uses a deadly weapon.
“A sentence enhancer articulates to the court this is a crime of violence and means an elevated sentence is an option for the judge during sentencing,” said Assistant District Attorney Will Furse.
Brown also will be required to pay restitution, which includes paying for damages to the victim’s vehicle, he said.
As part of the plea agreement, original charges of attempted second-degree murder and motor vehicle theft are dropped.
According to the plea agreement, the judge can sentence Brown between zero and 10 years in jail.
Sentence enhancers require that convicts serve at least three-quarters of their sentence before being considered for parole, Furse said.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 25. Brown is being held in the Montezuma County Detention Center.
She was arrested Nov. 5 on a Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office warrant for various charges related to an incident on Sept. 27 on Road H, south of Cortez.
According to a Sheriff’s Office affidavit, on Sept. 26 Brown persuaded a man she knew, Darryl Beall, to give her a ride to Farmington so she could visit her mother.
When they returned to Cortez on Sept. 27, Brown asked that Beall stop at the residence of her male friend on Road 26.5 off County Road H.
As Brown and the friend approached the truck, Brown pointed a gun at Beall and told him to drive, according to the affidavit.
After driving for a while with Brown and her friend, Beall said he was ordered at gunpoint by Brown to stop the 2005 Chevy truck, exit the vehicle, and walk down Road H after giving up the keys, according to sheriff reports.
The affidavit states that Beall said Brown told him “to walk to the middle of the road because she was going to shoot him.”
A scuffle allegedly ensued as the two walked down the road.
“Darryl decided at that point ... he was going to fight and not stand there and die,” the report states. “Darryl said he grabbed the gun, and then he and Kelsey started wrestling over the gun.”
Beall alleges Kelsey fired two shots from the gun during the struggle. He was not hit, said Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin.
While on the ground, the male friend, who was not identified, allegedly kicked Beall in the head more than once, causing a minor head injury, according to the sheriff’s and physician’s report.
Investigators searched for Brown’s alleged co-conspirator, but he was never found or identified, according to law enforcement and the DA’s office.
The arrest affidavit goes on to state that after Brown got control of the gun, she shot toward Beall, “with the bullet going over Darryl’s head” then “shot two more times out of the vehicle’s window at Darryl.”
Beall fled over a fence as Brown and the male drove away in the truck, the report states. Beall called police and was transported to Southwest Memorial Hospital. He suffered an ankle sprain, abrasions and minor head injury.
The gun was dumped and never found, officials said.
After the incident, the Sheriff’s Office was notified by the Chinle (Arizona) Police Department that the stolen truck had been recovered in Chinle.
Chinle Police said Brown had been admitted to the Chinle hospital with a gunshot wound to her knee. She claimed she was picked up hitchhiking by an unidentified male in the stolen truck who shot her.
Brown was arrested by Chinle police for possession of the stolen vehicle, according to the report. She was later extradited to Montezuma County, Nowlin said.