Update: Charges confirmed, unsealed in Steve Bushaw murder

Just received documents from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office with the charges against the four suspects who, as we first reported early this morning, have been arrested in connection with the February 1 shooting death of Steve Bushaw in The Junction. The suspects named in the documents are the same three who we found on the King County Jail Register early today – 27-year-old Bryce Huber, 30-year-old Brandon Chaney, 28-year-old Danny O’Neal Jr. – and the man arrested in San Antonio, TX, 32-year-old John Sylve. More as we read the documents. 4:43 PM: The documents tell a long and complicated story which as we boil it down appears to explain why so much time elapsed between the murder and the arrests – it appears to have been an extremely complex investigation, involving a lot of cell-phone trails in the evidence – read on for more as we add it:

We cannot just upload the court document, as it contains many names (and other personal information) regarding people who are not charged or suspected in the case, but we will transcribe it as best we can, omitting those names and any other specific personal details such as addresses, phone numbers, etc.

First – a summary: Regarding a motive, the documents claim that Bushaw had been selling marijuana, purchased from people including Bryce Huber and another man, who reportedly believed Bushaw had something to do with a home-invasion robbery at his house about two weeks before the shooting.

The documents say Bushaw knew that man suspected him, and told friends he was afraid someone would try to kill him, even saying he believed the man had put out a $5,000 contract on him. The night of the murder, the documents say, Bushaw left a friend’s Super Bowl party, went to his family’s home and used a computer, and said he was going to meet “Bryce.”

The charges allege that Oneal and Sylve both were involved in the actual shooting outside Talarico’s, where Bushaw and Huber apparently both had been beforehand. Sylve is said to have been a co-defendant in 1997 in two criminal cases also involving the man whose robbery Huber allegedly blamed on Bushaw.

5:01 PM: At the end of the court documents recounting how detectives came to the above conclusions, the charging document says:

These four defendants did conspire for as long as two weeks to cause the death of Steve Bushaw. He was set up and then gunned down in a public street with numerous innocent bystanders in harm’s way. For all of these reasons, the state is asking that arrest warrants be issued for each of these defendants on the charges of Conspiracy to Commit Murder in the First Degree on count 1, and Premeditated Murder in the First Degree as charged in count two.

Again, all four of these suspects are in custody. More to come.

6:13 PM: We’re transcribing the court document minus names, phone numbers, other personal information. This’ll be in chunks – very long document. First chunk:

On February 1, 2009, at approximately 2330 hours Seattle Police responded to a shooting incident outside Talarico’s Bar located at 4718 California Ave SW in West Seattle. Upon arrival, they found the victim, Steve Bushaw, had been shot multiple times. Seattle Fire Department Medics responded to the scene and transported Bushaw to Harborview Medical Center, where he died as a result of the gunshot wounds. Seattle Police Homicide Detectives also responded to the scene to investigate, and Detectives (names) were assigned as the lead case investigators. During the on-scene investigation, two eyewitnesses to the shooting/homicide of Bushaw, who are known to police and have given police written statements, told detectives that they were outside in front of Talarico’s bar smoking cigarettes when they observed two black males in their mid 20s dressed all in black, wearing either black P-coats or leather jackets, appear from the breezeway that is located on the west side of the street and just on the south side of the Puerto Vallarta restaurant, which is across the street, adjacent to Talarico’s bar. This breezeway leads to additional parking to the west of California Avenue SW for the businesses and restaurants located on the street.

As the witnesses smoked their cigarettes, they observed that the two men stopped and stood between parked cars and were directly west of the front door to Talarico’s. The witnesses noticed that the males had their hands in their pockets and they were not saying anything. However, the two black males appeared to be looking east toward Talarico’s and north on California Avenue SW. Both witnesses have experience in working club security at Talarico’s and other nearby bars and restaurants. Both witnesses, based on their experience as security personnel, believed the two men across from them were acting suspiciously.

As the witnesses were finishing their cigarettes they noticed the two suspicious men step into the street and begin to move in a northeast direction on California Avenue SW. At the same time, they observed a white male (later identified as Steve Bushaw) crossing the street in a southeast direction toward Talarico’s from the area of Poggie’s Stavern, which is situated north and west from the witnesses’ location. The witnesses observed that Bushaw was attempting to avoid the two black males as they approached him. Bushaw was walking quickly and his head was down.

The witnesses observed that as the two black males approached Bushaw, they drew firearms out of their jackets and began to fire in Bushaw’s direction. As Bushaw began to run away, he was struck by the suspects’ bullets. As Bushaw neared the front door of Talarico’s the suspects continued to fire their weapons, and several rounds penetrated the wall of the bar and struck objects inside. At the time of the shooting, it was estimated by the bartenders that there were approximately eighty people inside Talarico’s. Bushaw ran into Talarico’s with the witnesses following close behind him. Inside the bar, the witnesses asked Bushaw what was happening and the victim told the witnesses he had been shot. Bushaw then collapsed to the floor. The witnesses called 911 and reported the shooting. The suspects were last seen fleeing on foot back through the breezeway which they had come from as Seattle Police officers were arriving into the area.

As investigation and possible motive for this murder case developed, (a detective) through interviews with the victim’s family and friends as well as supplemental investigation, learned that the victim, Steve Bushaw, was suspected of being involved in the sale and distribution of marijuana in the Seattle area. Bushaw had been interviewed by Seattle Police detectives with regard to a home invasion robbery that took place in 2003. The stated motive of the perpetrators in that case was retribution for the theft of four pounds of marijuana from Steve Bushaw. Bushaw had cooperated with this prior investigation and was treated as a witness in that case. As a result of that investigation, three defendants were charged with Robbery in the First Degree and Burglary in the First Degree. One of the defendants in that Robbery/Burglary case fled this jurisdiction to avoid prosecution and there is an active warrant for his arrest on the charges at the time of this writing. The other two defendants were convicted as charged on both counts.

Nearly a year before his murder, Steve Bushaw started working for the ILWU #19 in Seattle. While so employed he met Bryce Huber, adn the two became friends. One of the things the two had in common was the use and sale of marijuana. The victim initially purchased street level quantities of marijuana from Huber. Eventually, the victim became interested in larger quantities of the drug and Huber introduced the victim to (Person X). Steve Bushaw had begun purchasing larger amounts of marijuana from (Person X) toward the end of 2008.

On January 19, 2009, a home invasion robbery occurred at (Person X)’s residence. According to Seattle Police reports of this incident, two men forced their way inside the home and the two men beat (Person X) and pistol-whipped him to the point his arm was broken and he suffered several lacerations to his face and head. One of the two intruders placed the barrel of the handgun he was using into (Person X)’s mouth and demanded to know where he kept his “stash.” While doing so, the intruder threatened to kill (Person X) if he did not comply. These acts were committed in the presence of (Person X)’s girlfriend and child. (Person X) told Seattle Police detectives that the two intruders were talking to a third person on a cell phone as they searched (his) residence. Also present during this Robbery/Burglary incident were Brandon Chaney, (Person Y) and (Person Z). According to police reports Chaney was “slightly” injured during the assault/robbery. (Person X) stated that an unknown quantity of marijuana and cash were taken in the robbery.

During the detective’s followup interviews in this case with (Person X), they learned that (he) suspected the intruders might have been acting at the direction of Steve Bushaw, and this was noted on the detective’s investigative follow-up report. (Person X) told detectives he was actively selling large quantities of marijuana to five different men before his home was invaded. He reported that four of the five men continued to call him for drugs shortly after he was assaulted. The exception in the group was Steve Bushaw. Rather than call to place an order, as was his prior practice, Bushaw called (Person X) on his cellular phone number … on January 22, 2009 to ask (Person X) how he was doing after the attack. (Person X) told detectives that Bushaw was asking him if he knew who the intruders were.


(Person X) noted that oddly, Bushaw asked pointed questions about the intruders’ getaway, and if (Person X) had seen what type of vehicle they were driving. (He) told investigators that Steve Bushaw went so far as to ask if the intruders were driving a dark-colored Volvo. At the time of this report, (Person X) supplied Seattle Police with his contact phone number (—), and this cellular phone number is listed on the incident report. The investigative team in this Robbery/Burglary case subsequently discovered and confirmed through DOL records that Steve Bushaw drove a dark-colored Volvo.

(Person X) reported later that it wasn’t just he who suspected that Steve Bushaw might have orchestrated the home invasion at (his) residence. Bryce Huber called (Person X) upon learning of the attack, and told (Person X) that he also suspected it was Steve Bushaw who was responsible for the home invasion robbery. Huber noted that it was he whom had initially introduced (Person X) to Bushaw. (Person X) told the investigators about this conversation with Bryce Huber.

Also through the course of followup interviews in the murder case of Steve Bushaw, Detective (name) learned that the victim worked at the ILWU #19 with (Person A). Detectives interviewed (Person A), who told detectives that he and Steve Bushaw worked together and also “hung out” regularly when they were not working. Some time during the week before Bushaw’s murder, (Person A) was with the victim in West Seattle when Bushaw told him about a problem he was having with a guy from whom he used to buy marijuana.

Bushaw explained to (Person A) that the guy from whom Bushaw had bought his drugs was recently robbed at gunpoint. Bushaw told (Person A) that the dealer thought he, Steve Bushaw, was involved in the home invasion robbery. Bushaw also told (Person A) that he had heard there was a $5,000 “hit” out on him, meaning that Bushaw believed that his previous drug dealer had offered money for someone to kill him.

Detective (name) also interviewed (Person B), who was another friend of Steve Bushaw. (Person B) reported that he spent Saturday, January 31, 2009 with Bushaw having a few drinks in the Queen Anne neighborhood. (Person B) told detectives that Bushaw seemed to be troubled by something. When (Person B) asked Bushaw what was on his mind the victim stated the guy from whom he bought his “weed” was angry at him. The victim told (Person B) the guy had threatened to shoot him and that Bushaw was in fear for his life.

Detectives learned that Steve Bushaw spent the following day, February 1, which was Super Bowl Sunday, (outside Seattle) at the home of Person C (who) told homicide investigators that he and Steve Bushaw were friends and confirmed that Bushaw had watched the Super Bowl at his house. (Person C) stated he knew the victim had been working for the ILWU recently, and that he was selling marijuana to other workers on the docks. It was (Person C)’s understanding that at least one and perhaps two other longshoremen were Bushaw’s suppliers.

(Person C) told detectives that the victim left his house abruptly that Sunday evening with about three minutes left in the football game. (Person C) then shared two observations with the investigators. He thought it was odd that the victim left so suddenly, because the last several minutes of the game were extraordinarily exciting, even by Super Bowl standards. Further, (Person C) was not aware of the victim receiving any call or text message on his cellular phone that would have been the impetus for such a quick departure.

Detectives learned that the victim went to his parents’ home in West Seattle after he left (Person C’s home). The victim’s parents stated that Bushaw arrived not long after the game was over. They told detectives that he was at home in his room until he announced just after 2300 hours that he was “…going to meet Bryce for a drink.”


The victim’s parents gave homicide detectives the victim’s cell phonea nd computer. The cell phone had been located by emergency medical personnel in Bushaw’s pocket when they were attempting to save the victim’s life. The telephone number assigned to Bushaw’s cell phone was (—). The phone had been taken to Harborview Medical Center along with the victim’s body and was turned over to his parents after he had expired. At the request of Detective (name), Bushaw’s parents checked the cellular phone’s internal memory and discovered that the last call made/received by the cell phone with a time stamp of 2326 hours on February 1, 2009 was made/received to/from a contact listed as “Bryce.” A check of the internal stored address book of Bushaw’s cell phone showed that the contact name “Bryce” was assigned the phone number (—). The computer which was recovered from the victim’s bedroom, along with his cellular phone, was the subject of a subsequent King County Superior Court Search Warrant. Judicial authority to collect any and all information regarding the victim’s cell phone and computer was obtained and this information was analyzed by Detectives (names).

In a subsequent conversation with (Person A) he reported that Bushaw had called him at 2200 hours on Sunday, February 1, the night of the Super Bowl. (Person A) reported that the victim wanted (him) to send some photographs by e-mail. (Person A) understood from the victim that he was at his computer and was waiting for the photographs so he could forward them to an unknown woman. This was the last conversation (Person A) ever had with Steve Bushaw. Consistent with this information from (Person A), Detective (name) learned that the victim was indeed on his computer in his room at his parent’s house around this time, as he had attempted to use two different credit/debit cards in his own name to pay bill(s). The transactions were not being authorized because the cards had not been activated. The company that issued the cards, (a credit union), perceived the attempted transactions as possible fraud and put an alert on the victim’s account. Detective (name) spoke with (credit union employee) who indicated Bushaw had attempted six such transactions. She further confirmed that the transactions were attempted between 2217 hours and 2235 hours on Sunday, February 1, 2009.

Statements given to detectives by Steve Bushaw’s parents and (Person A) confirm that Bushaw was at his parent’s house in his bedroom and was using his computer between the hours of approximately 2100 and 2300.

Person A) reported that when he learned of the victim’s death the next day, he went to the victim’s home and spoke to Bushaw’s parents. (Person A) said that during their conversation, the victim’s parents asked (him) if he knew a guy named “Bryce,” since they knew (he) worked with their son on the docks. Bushaw’s parents told (him) that their son had left their house to meet “Bryce” shortly before his murder. (Person A) told detectives that he had informed Bushaw’s parents that he did not know anyone named “Bryce.”

During the investigation, (a longtime friend) contacted detectives to report she has known the victim for several years. … She told the detectives she was in Talarico’s on Sunday, February 1, 2009. She stated that Bushaw walked into the bar and she greeted him with a hug during the late evening hours of February 1st. She was in the bar that particular night to sing as Sunday is Karaoke night at Talarico’s. She told detectives she saw Steve Bushaw greet a man in a baseball cap who was sitting in a booth with several women. It appeared to her that the victim was looking for somebody. She described that Steve Bushaw walked around the entire bar but did not sit down. She went into the restroom for a moment to get ready to sing her song and when she came back out she did not see Bushaw in the bar.


She was called to the stage a moment after coming out of the restroom. She sang her song for a few minutes and stepped down. Very shortly thereafter, she heard other people in the bar talking about somebody getting shot. She moved to the front of the bar and observed her former classmate, Steve Bushaw, lying on the ground in a pool of blood.

On February 6, 2009, Detective (name) interviewed (Witness A). She stated she was standing in the breezeway on the south side of the Puerto Vallarta Restaurant, which is across the street from Talarico’s. She was outside smoking a cigarette just before the shooting occurred. (Witness A) stated three black males passed by her heading Eastbound toward California Avenue SW. As the three males passed by her, one of the males made a comment to her that made her laugh. (She) described the three as “young males in their late twenties wearing dark clothing.” Two of the males had some type of hoods on while the last male did not. The Non-hooded male was described as “looking like a smaller Kevin Garnett of the NBA Boston Celtics” … She stated several minutes after the three passed by Eastbound, the male without a hood returned walking Westbound by himself. A very short time later, while still in the breezeway, (Witness A) heard several loud gunshots. Suddenly, the other two males with the hoods returned running through the breezeway Westbound. The witness stated that she would be willing to review photos in an attempt to identify any or all the men that she saw in the alley that night.

In early February, a Seattle Police bulletin was issued for Bryce Huber as a probable witness to the murder of Steve Bushaw. Huber was wanted on outstanding warrants for his arrest, and Detective (name) requested notification if any officers were to come into contact with and/or upon the arrest of Huber on his warrants. On February 8, 2009 Bryce Huber was arrested by Seattle Police patrol officers for his outstanding warrants. Prior to booking in the King County Jail, Huber was taken to the Seattle Police Homicide Office and interviewed by Detective (name) as a possible witness to the murder. In the interview, Huber denied any knowledge whatsoever of the murder of Steve Bushaw and said he was not involved in any way as a witness or suspect. During the interview, officers and detectives conducted an inventory of Huber’s property prior to his booking into the King County Jail, as per policy. In Huber’s wallet, officers found ten $100 bills, a newspaper clipping outlining the story of the murder of Steve Bushaw, a cellular phone and a cellular phone SIM card. Huber acknowledged that the SIM card was from his “old” phone and the cellular phone which he had in his possession at that time was his “new” phone. Huber told detectives that his current cellular phone number was (—). He further stated that the phone number which had been assigned to his old cellular phone to which the SIM card belonged was (—). Detective (name) noted that this “old” number was very similar to the stored phone number for “Bryce” in Bushaw’s cell phone of (—), only Huber had transposed the last two numbers. When Detective (name) asked why Huber had a newspaper clipping of the murder to which he had claimed no knowledge of and why he had suddenly changed cellular phones, Huber became visibly uncomfortable. Soon thereafter, Huber refused to answer any more questions and told Detective (name) that he wanted to speak to an attorney. The SIM card from Huber’s wallet was seized as evidence, and Huber was subsequently booked into the King County Jail for his outstanding warrants.

On February 12, 2009, as Detective (name) was preparing a search warrant for the cellular phone number of (the number verbally given by Huber as his “old” cellular number to which the SIM card belonged), Detective (name) learned that this cellular number did not match the phone number which was stored in the memory of Bushaw’s cell phone under the name “Bryce,” or the phone number which Huber had supplied in previous unrelated law enforcement contacts. This discrepancy had been discovered when detectives checked law enforcement databases and discovered that Huber had several entries listing his contact phone nynmber as (—) On February 19, 2009, Detective (name) obtained a King County Superior Court Search Warrant for the cellular phone call detail records for the number of (—). Records obtained pursuant to this search warrant revealed that Huber was the subscriber for number (—). Also, a search warrant was obtained for the call detail records for the cellular phone of Steve Bushaw with the number (—) and for a forensic search of Bushaw’s computer.

Through further investigation and followup interviews with additional witnesses, Detective (name) discovered that one of the men that walked through the breezeway the night of the murder was (Person D). This information came from (source). Detective (name) received information from this Confidential Source (CS), who is known to law enforcement but has requested to remain anonymous. This CS told Detective (name) that on the morning of February 2, 2009 (she got information implicating people in) the shooting in West Seattle the previous night.


The CS said that (a family member of someone who was reportedly present at the shooting scene) was “in a state of shock and disbelief” over this incident and the involvement of (family member). Detective (name) asked the CS if (friend) had said why the victim ahd been shot, the CS told Detective (name) that (friend) had told the CS the victim had been shot because he was involved in some kind of break-in involving one of her (relative’s) friend’s residence and damaging some things. (She) said that her (relative) had told her that they “had gone to West Seattle on Sunday night looking for him, and then shot him.” The information which was given by the CS was considered as avalid, due to the fact that information which the CS had knowledge of was not disclosed as public information (i.e. the break-in and damage …)

On February 11, 2009, Detective (name) contacted (friend) and interviewed her. She denied any knowledge of the murder or telling anyone about involvement of her (relative). (She) said that she and (relative) know Bryce Huber, (Person A), and Brandon Chaney and that they are friends. She further stated that (relative) plays basketball regularly with Huber, (Person A) and Chaney. Detective (name) asked (her) where she and (relative) were during and after the Super Bowl on February 1, 2009. (She) told Detective (name) that she went to her mother’s house and that (relative) was supposed to come there, but he had called and told her that he was going to “hang out with his friends Chaney and D-Bo.” (She) provided the cellular number for (relative) as (—). Detective (name) showed (her) the Washington State Driver’s License photo of (relative) and she confirmed that it was a photo of (him). Detective (name) asked (her) if she had ever heard of (relative) described as looking like “a short Kevin Garnett,” and she replied that he gets that comparison all the time.

On February 13, 2009, Detective (name) met with (the witness from the breezeway). (She) was shown a photo montage that included (relative). Within 10 seconds after looking at all the photos, she pointed at (his) photo and replied, “This is one of the guys that I saw in the alley that night.” She further stated that this was the male without any hood that resembled “Kevin Garnett.” She stated this male walked Eastbound thru the breezeway with the other two males but then returned a short time later heading back Westbound, but without the other two males. She then heard gunshots and the other two males came running back through the breezeway. Westbound also.

On February 18, 2009, Detective (name) and other homicide detectives located (relative) and interviewed him. During the interview, (he) admitted that Brandon Chaney is a friend of his. He stated that he also knows (Person A) and Bryce Huber. He also spoke of another balck male he knew only as “D-Bo” who he was introduced through Brandon Chaney. (He) told detectives he did not know this man’s given name and the others in the group simply referred to him as D-Bo. As described more fully below, D-Bo was later identified by law enforcement as Danny O’Neal. (Relative) was later able to positively identify O’Neal as “D-Bo” from a photograph shown to him by law enforcement.

(Relative) stated he has played basketball with Chaney, (Person A) and Huber in the past. When asked if he knew about the robbery that had occurred at (Person A)’s residence in January of this year, he stated he did. He stated Brandon Chaney had told him about it because Chaney said that he was in the house at the time of the invasion and was also assaulted and suffered some injuries as a result.

When Detective (name) confronted (relative) with the fact he was identified as being at the scene of the shooting, he admitted that he had been there. He explained that he had met with Brandon Chaney earlier in the day to watch the Super Bowl game at D-Bo’s apartment, which is in Renton. (He) told detectives that he did not know the address of D-Bo’s apartment but he was sure that it was in Renton. Chaney picked (relative) up and drove them to D-Bo’s residence. While he watched the game, he noticed that both Chaney and D-Bo were communicating with (Person A) via text messaging. (relative) told detectives that he knew that they were communicating with (Person A) because D-Bo and Chaney were talking and laughing about the text messages, saying that they were communicating with (Person A). (Relative) stated that Chaney and D-Bo did not tell him the exact content of the messages nor what they were regarding. (He) also told Detective (name) he noticed there was a semi-automatic pistol sitting on D-Bo’s coffee table, which looked like a nine millimeter.

(Relative) told detectives that after the game he left the residence with Brandon Chaney and D-Bo. Chaney was driving his own vehicle, D-Bo was sitting in the front passenger seat and (relative) was sitting in the back. (Relative) stated Chaney drove them to Sea-Tac Airport. They circled the baggage claim/passenger pickup area twice before a black male flagged them down. (Relative) described the black male as approximately 6’4″, medium build, and short hair, wearing dark clothing, and a pea coat style jacket. As described more fully below, the man that (he), Chaney and O’Neal picked up from Sea Tac Airport was identified as John Sylve.

(Relative) told Detective (name) he had not previously met Sylve, but Chaney and D-Bo obviously had, as Sylve recognized the car and greeted both upon his entry to the vehicle. Sylve complained to Chaney and D-Bo about having to wait so long for them to pick him up. (relative) also said that when Sylve was sitting in the back seat of the car (he) noticed the butt end of a pistol which was partially exposed from his pants pocket. (He) believed it was the grip to a revolver-type pistol. (He) was told by Chaney that Sylve had arrived at Sea-Tac airport through an airport shuttle bus from Yakima, Washington. Detectives later confirmed through business records that (shuttle company) had transported a John Sylve from Yakima to Sea-Tac on February 1, 2009. (relative) indicated Brandon Chaney was talking on his cellular phone several times as he was driving to and from Sea-Tac Airport. (relative) could not hear the conversations because of the loud music that was playing in the car.

(relative) told detectives that after picking up Sylve at Sea-Tac, the four men returned to D-Bo’s residence. After a while, Chaney, Sylve and D-Bo told (relative) that they were going out. (He) believed they were going to a club, so he decided to go with them. (He) stated that he noticed D-Bo’s semi-automatic pistol was no longer on the coffee table when they returned to the house. (He) recalled that Brandon Chaney did not want to take his vehicle so he drove everyone in D-Bo’s vehicle. As D-Bo got into the front passenger seat, (he) saw the pistol grip of the semi-automatic pistol partially exposed from D-Bo’s pants pocket.

According to (relative), Brandon Chaney drove all four men to the West Seattle area. (He) said that as they were driving, Chaney was talking about a club that they wanted to go “check out.” (Relative) stated he does not spend much time in West Seattle and was unaware of the club they were speaking of.

(Relative) told detectives that when he, Chaney, Sylve and D-Bo arrived in West Seattle near the area of this homicide, Brandon Chaney parked the vehicle on the west side of a large parking lot behind the businesses on California Ave SW, facing South. (He) stated D-Bo and Sylve exited the vehicle, and he did too. Chaney said something to the effect that he was “going to wait in the vehicle till they checked out the club, then he would join them.” (Relative) stated in retrospect that did not seem normal.

(He) said that he, Sylve and D-Bo walked eastbound through a breezeway that led out to California Ave SW. As they walked through the breezeway he recalled seeing people smoking cigarettes and one of the males he was with said something that caused them to laugh. As the three men exited the breezeway they turned left, which is north, along the west side of California Avenue SW. D-Bo and Sylve stopped across the street from Talarico’s and were looking at the front door while they had their hands in their coat pockets. (relative) questioned both men about what they were doing and both men told him to be quiet. (He) stated he started to get a bad feeling and told the two en that he was leaving to go back to the car.

(He) stated he walked away southbound and missed the breezeway which led back to the parking lot where Chaney was waiting at the car. He walked partially down the block then turned around and walked back to locate the correct breezeway. As he was doing this, he noticed D-Bo and Sylve begin to move into the street. He noticed they were moving in the direction of a person or persons just north of them who were also in the street. (Relative) then turned into the breezeway and began to make his way back to the vehicle where Brandon Chaney was waiting.

As he passed the same people that were near the breezeway earlier, (relative) heard several gunshots. Being immediately fearful for his safety, he started to run toward the car. (He) said he heard two distinct guns being fired. He got into the car and told Chaney that someone was shooting by the club. A moment or two later D-Bo and Sylve arrived back in the car and it was obvious to (relative) that they had also been running. As the two got into the car they were telling Chaney to leave the area quickly. (He) remembered that he could clearly smell “gun smoke” after the two got back into the car. Later analysis of the shell casings and bullets recovered from the crime scene and the victim’s body revealed that two handguns were used in the murder. One was a 9 mm semiautomatic and the other was .38 caliber revolver, which was consistent with the description of the weapons seen in the possession of Sylve and O’Neal by (relative).

Brandon Chaney quickly drove the vehicle southbound away from the area of the murder. (relative) did not recall the exact streets because he is not familiar with the West Seattle area. Chaney drove them back to D-Bo’s residence in Renton. (Relative) stated he was “rattled” and questioned D-Bo and Sylve about what happened. In their reply … they would only say that someone was shooting at the club. (He) then requested Chaney to take him home. As (he) was leaving D-Bo’s residence he noticed (Sylve) washing his hands with either bleach or ammonia.

Chaney took (relative) home in the same vehicle he had used to pick him up earlier, which notably was a different vehicle from the one they had just traveled to and from West Seattle in. (Relative) questioned Chaney about the shooting on the ride home but Chaney said he did not know anything about it. (Relative) stated he arrived at home at approximately 0030 hours.

He told detectives that when he woke up the next morning and watched the news he “put two and two together” and believed D-Bo and SYlve had been involved in the shooting at the club. (He) stated he did not want to say anything because he feared possible retaliation if D-Bo and Sylve found out he had talked to law enforcement.

Note: The above text is not quite 2/3 through the narrative in the court documents. The remaining pages are headed CELL PHONE RECORDS and contain mostly technical information about how traced numbers, calls and pings played into the case. Meantime, the four suspects remain in custody; the prosecutor’s office told us that an arraignment date will be set shortly.

43 Replies to "Update: Charges confirmed, unsealed in Steve Bushaw murder"

  • Alki Area December 2, 2009 (5:56 pm)

    I feel VERY bad for the Bushaw family. But as was said the week this originally happened, it was likely to be a drug deal gone bad (or some argument over drugs or money). Everyone somehow wanted this to be a ‘random’ drive by where a totally random innocent man was just gunned down for no reason. It was still murder, and NO excuse for that, but it wasn’t random or just some kids shooting at a building and ‘accidentally’ hitting Bushaw. Being a drug dealer for a bunch of criminal low life types (who are often violent) is not a good idea. Just sad and stupid all the way around.

  • JimmyG December 2, 2009 (6:01 pm)

    Finally the truth! A fairly big scale marijuana dealer was gunned down in the Junction. And the Junction was a portion of his turf for selling. But what really got him was the violent home invasion he (allegedly) committed a few weeks prior.

    Violence begets violence.

  • onceachef December 2, 2009 (6:14 pm)

    As you said it Alki…just sad and stupid!

  • WSB December 2, 2009 (7:10 pm)

    Before anyone else opines – since it will be quite a while before I finish transcribing the entirety of the charging document (have to take a break for the Fairground playground meeting) – I do want to say this from having read the whole document through twice now: There is NO evidence presented in the document that Steve Bushaw was involved in the home invasion for which “Person X” blamed him, allegedly triggering the whole “hit” scenario. Just to make that clear. – TR

  • Genessee neighbor December 2, 2009 (7:12 pm)

    Sad for a family to lose a son, brother, uncle. Unfortunately, sounds like Steve was caught up in the life of drugs and hung out with some very violent and scary individuals. Illegal activities don’t usually turn out to be a ‘win-win’ situation and someone pays the price in the end.

  • *t* December 2, 2009 (7:47 pm)

    Another compelling reason to legalize marijuana. Nobody’s getting gunned down over criminal vodka turf wars.

  • B December 2, 2009 (8:05 pm)

    actually if you guys knew anything he did nothing. like it says in the comments dont go off throwing your opinions. the writer of the west seattle blog even says THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE!!! MY COUSIN DID NOT DO NO HOME INVASION or ANY OF THOSE ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES!!!!!!! so you guys need to have respect for our family member who was brudily murdered by four very worthless people.

  • cop lover December 2, 2009 (8:30 pm)


    Yes….unsolved. But the cops found a stolen car the next week, using a helicopter and canine units….not related to Stevie’s murder…Stupid. Why weren’t the helicopters and dogs sent out to find Stevie’s killers that fateful night??? There was a description of the car, the shooters, the direction in which the car took off. Where are the priorities? Criminal. Just criminal. That’s our gov……I’m fed up with the justice system. A life was lost and the killers are still running free, but the cops got the dirty car thieves. WTF?!?!?

    Comment by alkigirl — February 14, 09 8:30 pm #

  • CandrewB December 2, 2009 (10:33 pm)

    *T*, criminalize alcohol and they will by hundreds of thousands.

  • Civilized December 2, 2009 (11:47 pm)

    I’m in the legalize it camp. This would never have happened if the marijuana trade was above the board, regulated, and taxed. I also put the fact that Steve was dealing pot and not coke or meth to his credit. There is more money in selling white powders but also, generally, more violence. From what I knew of him, he wasn’t that kind of guy. I can’t possibly imagine Steve would have been in on, let alone orchestrated, the home invasion robbery the murderers went after him for.

  • West Seattle December 3, 2009 (7:54 am)

    “This would never have happened if the marijuana trade was above the board, regulated, and taxed.”

    Really? You think these thugs would suddenly become outstanding citizens if weed were legalized or are you smart enough to figure out these kinds of thugs would simply find some other profitable illegal trade.

  • Denny December 3, 2009 (8:06 am)

    Tr – review paragraph 15 of latest transcript – I think there’s an early name that should be (relative). Thanks for doing this, much fuller picture of events.

  • Meg December 3, 2009 (8:25 am)

    Thanks WSB for a detailed explanation of what happened and the details of why the investigation took so long?

  • John December 3, 2009 (8:26 am)

    We’ll find out the truth real soon. Obviously this Bushaw gentleman knew he had a possible hit on him. In order to know this he had to be doing something illegal…..and/or be involved with such people. He sounds like he led a life that no one knew.

    Cop Lover….because it wasn’t a cop that was killed.

  • jsrekd December 3, 2009 (8:54 am)

    Guardian One is a King County Sherrif’s Office helicopter. It is not operated 24/7. SPD is at the mercy of their scheduling and willingness to respond.

    I am constantly amazed at folks’ willingness to cry “bad cops” so quickly, and yet expect them to respond immediately to their “crisis.”

  • Kayleigh December 3, 2009 (8:59 am)

    Disturbing how the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” is seemingly becoming merely a suggestion, here and elsewhere.

  • Abby December 3, 2009 (9:25 am)

    My thoughts and prayers are with Steve’s family. When all is said and done, it doesn’t matter if he was dealing or doing any of the things other people said. His family lost a son, brother and uncle. What is also sad is that these 4 individuals that are responsible have also cost heartache and strife within their own families. 5 families are hurting tonight due to the actions of 4 dumb people. I hope that Steve’s family was brought some closure during what I am sure will be a hard and lonely Christmas season.

  • CB December 3, 2009 (9:28 am)

    One dead drug dealer, 4 more off to prison. Can’t say I have much compassion for any of these people.

  • Lachlan December 3, 2009 (10:05 am)

    I tend to believe the SPD when they say Bushaw was dealing. But that does not change the fact that the men who murdered him did so, and placed so many other people at risk.

    Regardless off their reasons, this was a terrible crime and it’s good to know they’re off the street.

    Clearly this was a lengthy and complex investigation. Kudos to those who worked on it.

  • Happy Nulu December 3, 2009 (10:35 am)

    Just swap the names and murders on Abby’s and Kayleigh’s remarks to the murders attributed to Maurice Clemmons and we could have spirited discussion.
    Kayleigh would have to argue that Maurice Clemmons died “innocent”. He was not and will never be convicted of his “alleged” crimes.
    At least one member of the Clemmons clan turned him in. Others said, “it ain’t right, but family’s more important”.
    Mr. Bushaw appears to have great family here in West Seattle.
    Probably, a few of us responding to WSB had dealings with Bushaw?
    Was he more of someone who sold others pot in a social context (family) or was he into it more as a business?
    Either way it appears to have somehow led Mr. Bushaw to have associates willing to murder.
    There is little here that I am certain of besides the six lives that were lost through gunfire and all the rest of us some way affected.

  • SHANNON \\ December 3, 2009 (10:56 am)

    Steve was a good man who lived his life in west Seattle and so did his generations before him. The reason he went to meet the guy for a beer was to clear his name. Im tired of you people that have no clue, or new him, to speculate what went on. there are millions of pot smokers out there and none of them deserve to loose there life over some pot! When we hung out he would only talk about wanting to leave west Seattle cause his reputation per seated him and he hated the rumors, and this was one of those cases. and if you are one of these people that like to talk and spread rumors; you to could be staring down the barrel of a gun and not understand why; as in his last words were” i don’t understand, i don’t understand…” so before you go running your mouth, know your facts, cause its people like you that get people hurt in some shape or form. My only compensation for loosing a best friend in this, is the “idiots” going to prison for a long time for gunning down the wrong guy!

  • Jb December 3, 2009 (3:28 pm)

    That bryce guy is a rat! Sounds like he set up steve. Hang him !!!

  • Born To Be Mild December 3, 2009 (4:37 pm)

    Okay Shannon, you lost a friend and you’ll lose a few more before you die. Risky behaviors can get you killed. Here’s an example of risky behavior.

    “Nearly a year before his murder, Steve Bushaw started working for the ILWU #19 in Seattle. While so employed he met Bryce Huber, adn the two became friends. One of the things the two had in common was the use and sale of marijuana. The victim initially purchased street level quantities of marijuana from Huber. Eventually, the victim became interested in larger quantities of the drug and Huber introduced the victim to (Person X). Steve Bushaw had begun purchasing larger amounts of marijuana from (Person X) toward the end of 2008.”

    If what I quoted above is true, your friend took some chances that hastened his demise. He chose to associate with these people and they murdered him.

  • Full Tilt December 3, 2009 (5:51 pm)

    This is why pot needs to be legalized. Not just medical use, but all uses.

  • west side resident December 3, 2009 (6:04 pm)

    I’m really hope that this west seattle blog had permission from the Bushaw family to post this . If not this is really poor taste from this west seattle blog. These comments from people that did not know Steve or the know Bushaw family are simply ignorant comments.

  • WSB December 3, 2009 (6:17 pm)

    Permission to post what? We are a news organization, we have been covering this case since the night of the shooting, and this is a publicly available court document provided to us and other media outlets by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, also available to any citizen who wishes to review it, at the courthouse or online. We will resume the transcription later tonight – it’s been a busy day.
    We have chosen to excise the names of those other than Mr. Bushaw and the people who are charged with murdering him, because those are the guidelines we follow, as we did in our corporate-media days, unless there is a reason for exception, such as imminent public danger or police requests for help in finding a specific suspect (none of those conditions exist here).
    As for the comments, those are the opinions of and the responsibility of the readers who posted them. We have deleted some that violate our rules – which are more stringent than most other news outlets. But yes, some are difficult. It is, inarguably, a very difficult and complex case all around.
    By the way, the first court date is now set – December 8th, for the suspects to be arraigned (answer the charges).
    TR (WSB editor)

  • West Seattle December 3, 2009 (6:47 pm)

    “it doesn’t matter if he was dealing or doing any of the things other people said”

    Actually, it absolutely does matter. Like drinking and driving, behavior has consequences. I know it’s hard to be judged when your behavior is idiotic, criminal and dangerous, but…c’est la vie.

  • eek December 3, 2009 (7:26 pm)

    I am completely disgusted by the above comment that stated “one dead drug dealer”. I have know Stevie and his family for over 20 years. Although Stevie may have been involved in something he shouldnt have been there is NO justification for his death. Stevie was a wonderful friend, son, uncle, brother etc. He had a kind heart and loved his family dearly. I am disgusted with the lack of emotions and respect some people have. There is not a day that goes by since this happened that i dont think about him and the amazing family he left behind. Stevie will always be missed but he is now with his loving Father up in heaven. We love you Stevie and no worries…God will handle the ultimate judgement!!!!

  • wsmom December 4, 2009 (9:44 am)

    I am truly disappointed in some of the comments that have been posted. I find it hard to believe that people in this community believe that if you are a pot dealer you deserve what you get. This smacks of vigilante justice…those men did not know for sure Steve had anything to do with their robbery they “thought” he did, so they planned and lured him to his death. I think that is reprehensible. If we all took that kind of action for the injustices we “think” someone did to us then there would be alot of dead people. I, for one hope that if these men are convicted as charged they receive the death penalty for pre-mediated murder. My thoughts and prayers are with Steve’s family and friends as this is going to continue to be a difficult time for them.

  • SUP-ER December 4, 2009 (1:50 pm)

    Hmm… I wonder if the person X was involved in this? Hmm?

  • west December 4, 2009 (2:44 pm)

    as an attorney and someone who knew steve i would like to remind people that there is no proof steve was ever a drug dealer. he was never arrested nor brought before a judge or a jury of his peers. that is all speculation and could be information fed to the police by the suspects to justify what they did as i did not see anything in there saying htat the police were investigating steve or any admission from anyone who knew him closely. all of these allegations in this report as to steve’s characterare from the people accused of killing or conspiring to kill him. and no one will ever know because steve doesn’t have the chance to tell his side of what happend.

  • West Seattle December 4, 2009 (3:36 pm)

    “smacks of vigilante justice”

    Not at all, it’s the consequences of poor choices by the victim.

  • AD December 4, 2009 (5:42 pm)

    rest in peace, steve. you did not deserve to be shot and killed…

    you are not forgotten.

  • Merf December 4, 2009 (6:33 pm)

    Alright, all you *****s with your opinions about what Steve might have deserved are outrageous. the above are allegations..things he was supposedly involved in.
    even if he was involved with the sale of pot or not. that doesnt constitute deserving to be shot in cold blood in the middle of the street.
    thats great you came on the blog to post your negative thoughs. thats your right. but think about what you are saying..put yourself in someone close to the victims shoes. you are spineless to say these things about someone who is deceased. Steve was a great person and loved by most that knew him. i dont want to hear anymore negativity about someone who was my BEST FRIEND. you got something bad to say? say it to ME. keep it off the blog.

    -Patrick Murphy

  • Case sensitive December 5, 2009 (12:38 am)

    @west posts:
    “as an attorney and someone who knew steve i would like to remind people that there is no proof steve was ever a drug dealer. he was never arrested nor brought before a judge or a jury of his peers. that is all speculation and could be information fed to the police by the suspects to justify what they did as i did not see anything in there saying htat the police were investigating steve or any admission from anyone who knew him closely.”

    If you read the transcript again, you’ll see what person A, person B, and person C said. Is this an example of an “admission from anyone who knew him closely” ?

    There’s no proof here, but there’s evidence. It’s testimony from people who told the detectives that they were his friends.

  • chele December 5, 2009 (12:42 am)

    a very sad situation for five families whose lives will be forever changed. My heart goes out to the Bushaw family as well as the O’neil family. Good people make bad choices everyday it’s a sad fact that we all have to live with. My prayers go out to every individual affected by this tragedy.

  • Mardoggy O December 5, 2009 (4:33 pm)

    I spent a lot of my youth running around with Steve and friends. He was a good guy and did not deserve to die regardless of if he was selling pot, which was never proven. This is tragic story, that is all.

  • Born To Be Mild December 6, 2009 (1:47 pm)

    I downloaded the charging document so I could know the actual names of the players in this drama. NO, he did not deserve to die, he was set up and gunned down. If you read the document, his friends said he sold pot and Steve told his friends that he sold pot. The people who set him up to be murdered were drug dealers. Again, he didn’t deserve to die, but he’s dead because he chose to associate with drug dealers. At least one of his “friends” conspired to murder him! Oh yeah, did you know that the biggest dealer mentioned in the charging document didn’t get charged?

    • WSB December 6, 2009 (1:55 pm)

      It was made clear in subsequent statements from police that the investigation is not over so that doesn’t necessarily mean further charges will not be filed, fwiw. They specifically asked for further information from the public, in the announcement we published:

  • the one December 7, 2009 (6:06 pm)

    Guns, violence& drugs are all horrible things. No one really knows what went on besides the people involved,whoever that may be. let’s not be so quick to jump to conclusions and call them career criminals, if records were checked you would see that two of the men charged are established buisness men who have never been in trouble besides traffic tickets. let’s not forget innocent until proven guilty.

  • friend December 8, 2009 (11:52 am)

    John Sylve was a great father who was home all the time with his 3 kids. He cooked 3 full meals a day for them and took care of the house. He was not some gang banging thug who sold drugs and ran the streets. He may have previously had some troubles as so kindly stated by his father, but for the 8 years my family has known him and his wife and kids he’s been nothing but law abiding and repectful. The media is crucifing these men. And with what evidence? Some rat that is trying to stay out of trouble. Let these men have a fair trial. Since when is the word of a drug dealer trust worthy? I don’t beleive in any way John would kill anyone.

  • c.jones December 9, 2009 (1:27 pm)

    Who is Mr.X?

    • WSB December 9, 2009 (1:30 pm)

      We are not publishing the names of anyone who is not charged in this case, whether witness or suspect or investigating officer, per WSB rules, and that includes comments – any with names in them will not be approved for publication – TR

Sorry, comment time is over.