2009 Burnet shooting re-enacted

By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

The Highlander

A 2009 case in which a Burnet County woman allegedly influenced her son to shoot her romantic rival was re-enacted on the Investigation Discovery channel Saturday night.

The July 7 show “Fear Thy Neighbor” featured the Dec. 18, 2009, shooting of Burnet resident Christi Jo Jackson by Vinson Cowan, who was 19 at the time of the shooting. Cowan allegedly fired a single shot at Jackson from a .22-caliber rifle he held up to a window screen at her Deer Springs Drive home while Jackson was laying in bed with her two daughters at about 2 a.m.

The bullet struck a glancing blow to Jackson's head, causing an injury that was not fatal. She was transported to Seton Williamson County Medical Center in Round Rock, where she was treated and later released. Neither daughter was physically harmed in the attack.

A witness who had served as “lookout” for Vinson Cowan that night, Thomas Pearson, told investigators of his involvement in the incident. Investigators then were able to match gunpowder residue from the scene with that found on clothing that allegedly belonged to Vinson Cowan. They also found the alleged weapon, which had been dumped by Cowan and at Devil's Waterhole in Inks Lake State Park.

Both Pearson and Cowan claimed Cowan's mother, Linda Sue Cowan, then 39, told them to shoot Jackson. Linda Sue Cowan, who lived just 300 yards away from Jackson in the Deer Springs neighborhood, had been dating Jackson's ex-husband, Rudy Quintero Jr., which had caused a feud between the two neighbors.

Linda Sue Cowan had reportedly wanted to get Jackson out of the picture because Quintero was spending more time with Jackson and his two children by her. On the day of the shooting, Linda Sue Cowan had told a Burnet County investigator both she and Jackson had received death threats from an unknown individual. She also admitted to having owned a .22-caliber rifle and her relationship with Jackson's ex-husband, Rudy Quintero Jr.

A grand jury initially indicted Linda Sue Cowan on criminal solicitation of murder, a first-degree felony, but that charge was dismissed in June 2011 and she was indicted on a lesser charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony.

She was convicted by a Burnet County jury in 424th District Judge Dan Mills' court on Feb. 27, 2013, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. She faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Now 47, Linda Sue Cowan remains in the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville. She is not eligible for parole until Aug. 26, 2020, and has a projected release date of Feb. 25, 2028.

For his part, Vinson Cowan pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison on April 29, 2013. After serving six years in the Michael Unit in Tennessee Colony, he was granted parole on April 2, 2018, and was to be transferred to a Texas Department of Criminal Justice rehabilitation program. The earliest he could be released from the program would be September 2018.

District Attorney Wiley “Sonny” McAfee said he was interviewed for the show about a year ago. The case actually was tried by his deputy, Peter Keim.

“They (the production company) called our office and I don't remember how they heard about the case,” McAfee said. “They contacted the DA's office to look up the facts on the case and did a FOI request. After they looked over the information, I agreed to do an interview with them.”

Also interviewed for the show were Jackson; Quintero Jr.; the couple's oldest daughter; Jackson's mother; a Burnet County investigator; and two of Linda Sue Cowan's siblings.

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