Kelsey Lynn Brown, who was convicted of shooting a firearm at an acquaintance who had given her a ride to Farmington, was sentenced Monday in 22nd Judicial District Court to serve 7.5 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections.
As part of a plea agreement, Brown, of Cortez, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, a Class 4 felony. The guilty plea includes a sentence enhancer for a violent crime that uses a deadly weapon.
Brown was arrested Nov. 5 on a warrant for shooting at a man on County Road H Sept. 27 after allegedly stealing his truck at gunpoint on Road H south of Cortez.
In handing down the 7.5-year prison sentence, Chief Judge Doug Walker cited Brown’s criminal history and the violent nature of the crime.
“The use of a deadly weapon in my view is the most serious thing this court has to deal with,” Walker said.
During a sentencing hearing, Assistant District Attorney Will Furse noted Brown’s mental health and addiction issues, but recommended a 10-year prison sentence based on the violent nature of the crime, the use of a gun and Brown’s criminal history.
Her actions were “near murderous,” and “a life was almost lost,” Furse said.
A Cortez Police Department officer, Sgt. Glenn Edwards, testified to Brown’s local criminal history and told the court there “has to be consequences” for her actions.
Brown’s sister-in-law, Tamra Brown, asked that Brown be given probation so she could go home to the Navajo Nation to be near family and get the help she needs through Indian Health Services.
Being “far away from family” while in prison will make recovery difficult, Tamra Brown said.
Kelsey Brown’s defense attorney, Richard Sims, said she has suffered trauma including an abusive relationship that has made her fearful and defensive. He asked for a probationary sentence so she could seek treatment for mental health and addiction.
During an emotional statement to the court, Brown said “she was sorry” for what she had done, and “did not mean for them to happen.”
“I’ve lost my place in life,” which has had “no structure or guidance,” she said.
According to a Montezuma County 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 Brown ordered him at gunpoint 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.
Sims said Brown has insisted there was not a third person involved in the incident.
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 taken to Southwest Memorial Hospital. He suffered an ankle sprain, abrasions and minor head injury.
The gun was not 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.