Canyon County

15-year-old accused of brutal beating of Nampa teen will be tried as an adult

Jason Cooley Jr. was hospitalized with serious head injuries after he was attacked in a Nampa park in May of 2017.
Jason Cooley Jr. was hospitalized with serious head injuries after he was attacked in a Nampa park in May of 2017. Statesman file photo/Provided by Lisa Warren

One of two teenagers accused of beating a 15-year-old Nampa boy so badly that he spent a week in intensive care at a local hospital will be tried as an adult, according to the Canyon County Prosecutor’s Office.

Jason Cooley Jr. was found unconscious in a Nampa park on May 27.

In June, Nampa police said they had charged two 15-year-old boys with felony aggravated battery. Most juvenile criminal cases in Idaho are sealed, and that means details of the case don’t become public.

Prosecutors sought permission from a judge to try the teen suspects as adults. In mid-December, the judge ruled that one would be: Anthony Daniel Garza. The other boy will be tried in juvenile court; his name won’t be released.

Garza is being represented by attorney Monica Gray, a public defender in the Canyon County Prosecutor’s Office, according to online court records. He posted $5,000 bond, records show.

Garza is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 17 before Judge John Meienhofer at the Canyon County Courthouse.

In December 2016, Garza was charged with minor in possession of marijuana or paraphernalia, online court records show. He pleaded guilty and served 90 days in the Southwest Idaho Juvenile Detention Center, but 70 days were suspended. He was ordered to serve 10 days immediately, and the other 10 were discretionary time that could be imposed by his probation officer.

Cooley was attacked in City Acres Park. Lisa Warren, his mother, told the Statesman she dropped him off at the park just before 11 p.m. on May 27. She said about a half hour later she called him to see if he was ready to go home, and a stranger answered the phone.

“They said, ‘You need to get down here, your son is bleeding really bad,’” she recalled.

She found her son on the ground, unresponsive and suffering serious head wounds.

Warren said doctors told her that her son’s skull was not fractured but he did suffer a brain bleed, and his nose was broken. She said investigators pulled a shoe print off of her son’s head.

The motive for the attack was unknown, but Warren said one of the boys owed her son money.

A GoFundMe account was set up to to help pay Cooley’s medical expenses. Nearly $11,000 has been donated, exceeding the listed fundraising goal of $7,000.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller