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PV woman faces no charges in Chino shooting incident

PRESCOTT – Ramona Cooley, 30, of Prescott Valley is not facing any charges in connection with a recent Chino Valley shooting that left a 24-year-old man with a gunshot wound to his head.

Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Dennis McGrane said, "we have insufficient evidence to proceed forward on any charges against Ramona Cooley (who also goes by Crowder)."

The Chino Valley Police Department (CVPD) initially arrested and charged Cooley with one count of facilitation of attempted second-degree murder and one count of armed robbery in connection with the Feb. 6 incident.

On that day, in the 1400 block of South Road 1 West, a 28-year-old Matthew Patrick Curl of Prescott Valley allegedly shot Lee Johnson once in the face with what police believe to be a .22-caliber handgun, CVPD Sgt. Mark Garcia said previously. The suspect then left the victim's residence in an older Toyota four-door sedan, he said. He said police believe that Cooley was driving the vehicle.

"She was with him at the time of the incident and she was identified as the one, who drove to the scene and away from the scene," he said previously, adding that Cooley appears to be Curl's girlfriend.

Emergency personnel airlifted the victim to a Phoenix hospital where he underwent surgery, but doctors were unable to remove the bullet from his face, Garcia said.

Following up on information from citizens, CVPD was able to pin down potential suspects and arrest Curl and then Cooley a month after the incident took place, Garcia said previously.

"She was arrested based on the statements that she made to the investigating officers," he said. "She was booked on those charges pending a further review of the county attorney."

Garcia said Monday he didn't have information readily available to quote Cooley's statements.

He said the victim allegedly identified Curl as the man who shot him. He said police believe that an altercation led to the shooting, and that drugs and money might be a motive.

"We do feel that it was over a drug deal and possibly money too," he said. "The money was tied into the drugs. I believe that there was some money that was taken from the victim," but he could not specify the amount.

He said that the victim agreed to aid in the suspect's prosecution and that he was forthcoming with the information. However, police are still not clear about the victim and the suspect's relationship and whether they knew each other.

While the state took Curl's case to a grand jury to seek indictment on March 11, authorities released Cooley from the Yavapai County Jail within 48 hours after her initial appearance, McGrane said.

A grand jury indicted Curl on two counts of aggravated assault and armed robbery. Initially, he faced attempted second-degree murder and armed robbery.

"I believe that it (attempted second-degree murder) has the same classification as aggravated assault using a deadly weapon to cause serious physical injury, but not the same evidentiary burden," he said. "I think the burden is a little bit lower in those."

The potential punishment on either charge might be the same, he said.

He said that although Cooley is not facing any charges, it doesn't mean that his office may not file them later.

"I guess in any case where there is a dismissal, there is always a potential for re-filing," he said, adding that he is not sure what the odds are for it to happen. "It just depends what comes up."

However, he said, he doesn't believe that his office has asked the arresting agency to provide it with additional information related to her case.

McGrane said that police did not arrest Cooley by mistake.

"I wouldn't go so far to say that it was a mistake," he said. "The police requirements (for any arrest) is probable cause. Our burden is to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. And a difference between the two is astronomical."

He noted that it is possible that the state may call Cooley to testify against Curl, if the case reaches that stage of the legal process.

Contact the reporter at mburicadam@prescottaz.com

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