Cooper to plead in McBride murder

ALAMOSA — Lonnie Cooper, 43, will be pleading to second-degree murder in the 2016 death of Floyd Dale McBride, 52, his attorney Tina Tussay told Alamosa County Judge Daniel Walzl on Thursday.

Cooper was scheduled for a preliminary hearing in county court on Thursday morning, but Tussay told the judge her client would be waiving his right to a preliminary hearing in exchange for an offer that will resolve his case and the cases against three of his family members who were also charged in connection with McBride’s death.

McBride bled to death on June 23, 2016 after he was allegedly shot by Cooper in what appeared to be retaliation for McBride’s stabbing of one of Cooper’s sons in the leg.

Tussay told Judge Walzl that the offer Cooper is considering is a plea to an amended count of second-degree murder, with a sentencing range of 32-84 years. Cooper was originally charged with 35 counts ranging from kidnapping to first-degree murder.

Tussay said although the sentencing range would exceed the normal range for second-degree murder (48 years maximum), the plea would encompass all pending cases against Cooper.

The offer would also resolve cases against Cooper’s wife Shannon and two sons Brian and Devin, who have been charged as co-defendants and conspirators in McBride’s murder. Tussay said as part of Lonnie Cooper’s pending offer, son Devin would receive a probate sentence on a felony accessory charge, and Brian would be sentenced on a lesser felony charge, with the sentence to be determined later. The case against Shannon Cooper would be dismissed.

Tussay added that also as part of the agreement, the prosecution would stipulate to a motion she filed for return of funds that were confiscated when Lonnie Cooper was arrested.

Judge Walzl said the motion regarding the return of confiscated funds could be addressed in district court. After receiving verbal confirmation from Lonnie Cooper that he was willing to waive his preliminary hearing right in county court, Judge Walzl accepted the waiver and bound the case over to district court. It is tentatively scheduled on the afternoon of July 19.

At least one member of McBride’s family listened to the Thursday hearing via telephone conferencing.

In addition to Lonnie Cooper, who was charged with the shooting that led to McBride’s death, eight other area residents were charged with various charges related to the case. Three of those were members of Cooper’s family whose cases will now likely be resolved as a result of Lonnie Cooper’s pending plea.

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