Bushaw murder trial updates: Huber guilty, Chaney mistrial, post-verdict reaction

(12:21 PM UPDATE: We now have prosecution reaction after a mixed decision at the monthlong trial in the Steve Bushaw murder case. Bryce Huber is guilty; the jury could not reach a decision regarding Brandon Chaney, so his case ends in mistrial. The victim’s family says Huber is the one they most wanted to see convicted. The following begins with as-it-happened updates from WSB editor Tracy Record at the courthouse.)

8:58 AM: We’re in the King County Superior Court Judge Joan DuBuque‘s courtroom, awaiting word of the jury’s decision in the monthlong trial of two men charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Steve Bushaw. The 26-year-old West Seattleite (right) was killed the night of February 1, 2009, shot in the middle of California SW by two men who already have pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. In this trial, which we have been covering since the start, defendant Bryce Huber is accused of luring Bushaw to his death; defendant Brandon Chaney is accused of driving the getaway car. The seven-woman, five-man jury has deliberated three full days since getting the case late last Wednesday; the trial began August 1st. The victim’s family members have arrived; so have two of the three lawyers. We’ll cover this as it happens.

9:14 AM: Both defendants are now here, escorted by uniformed, armed King County Jail officers as always, cuffs taken off just before they sit down at the table with their lawyers. About three dozen spectators, mostly family of victim/defendants, are in the courtroom now.

9:17 AM: Judge DuBuque has announced the jury says they have reached a verdict for one defendant and is “unable to reach a verdict for the other.” They asked for directions. The judge is asking the lawyers what they think. She says she doesn’t know which defendant is matched to which circumstance. (9:21) They will call in the jury to ask the presiding juror if there is any hope they will reach a verdict on the second defendant.

9:24 AM: The presiding juror says “no,” after the judge warned that nothing else must be said. The jury now is leaving the courtroom so the judge and lawyers can consult. (9:27) At the request of Huber’s lawyer Tony Savage, the jurors are being brought back to ask if they all agree with the presiding juror’s answer. One voice said “no.” They’re being sent out again. (9:31) Savage says he’s OK with accepting one verdict and one mistrial (we still don’t know which defendant is which), so the jurors are being brought back out for the announcement.

9:32 AM: The jury is back. The verdict has been given to the bailiff. Huber is guilty. The family is gasping. He is guilty of murder in the first degree, with firearm enhancement (which adds 5 years to the sentence). This means Chaney’s case is deadlocked, and a mistrial is declared. A date will be set in a few weeks regarding what happens next. (added) Huber’s sentencing is set for 9 am September 16th, and later that day, there will be a hearing regarding the next steps toward a new trial for Chaney. The defendants, officers, and lawyers are leaving.

(Photo added, by Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times: Steve’s mother Meg Bushaw, hugged by daughter Tanya Bushaw)
The family is still standing in the courtroom. We had made an earlier request to speak with anyone who chose to spoke on their behalf, so we are going out in hopes of talking with them.

9:52 AM: Steve Bushaw’s only sibling, Tanya Bushaw, tells WSB she is “very happy. (Huber) was the one and only person we had been wanting the most out of the case. He is the one who lured my brother (to his death), and the one who put my brother’s name up” (in relation to the home-invasion robbery of a friend of Huber’s, which was the motive in the shooting’s complicated backstory). Tanya also said that, regarding the mistrial for Chaney, “of all the people (in the case), if one was to have a mistrial, he would have been my very first choice.” Tanya and Steve’s dad Ron Bushaw said simply, “I’m happy that one of them was found guilty, and I hope the other will be.”

10:23 AM NOTE: Our partners at the Seattle Times had a crew in the courtroom for the verdict and we expect to be able to add some of their photos later; we have added a file shot of Huber in the meantime, taken during January proceedings, by Christopher Boffoli for WSB. (added – their photo of Huber)

(Photo by Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)
It should also be noted that the two men who admitted shooting Bushaw, John Sylve and Danny O’Neal, are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge DuBuque at 2 pm September 30th.

12:18 PM UPDATE: King County Prosecuting Attorney‘s Office spokesperson Dan Donohoe says the jury was split 8-4 for convicting Chaney – this was not announced in open court, but jurors were offered the chance to talk with the lawyers afterward – and his office is considering a retrial. Also regarding the oft-asked question of potential charges against others who have emerged as possibly involved: “We will be reviewing information presented at trial and other evidence regarding the potential involvement of others.”

TUESDAY NIGHT NOTE: The KCPAO’s official summary of the trial’s end can be read here; it notes that Huber will face a sentencing range of 25-31 years in prison, while Sylve and O’Neal face 15-23 years. One other note: WSB complete coverage of the entire trial is archived here, newest-to-oldest.

50 Replies to "Bushaw murder trial updates: Huber guilty, Chaney mistrial, post-verdict reaction"

  • alkigirl August 30, 2011 (9:16 am)

    Praying for justice and strength for the Bushaw family…. <3

  • JVC August 30, 2011 (9:19 am)

    Thanks for the quick update. I’ll be watching as things progress.

  • M Slye August 30, 2011 (9:36 am)

    Thank you Tracy. I feel like I am in the courtroom.
    As always, journalism at its best.

  • MB August 30, 2011 (9:41 am)

    Can’t thank WSB enough for being so dedicated and on top of this story. If it weren’t for you, so many of us would have no idea what was happening in this case until the verdict. And even then, who knows if other news outlets will report on it. I’ve been on pins and needles, as I’m sure many others have been as well.

  • Katie August 30, 2011 (9:41 am)

    So it’s a mistrial and not a hung jury?

  • Shae August 30, 2011 (9:42 am)

    Thank you so much for keeping this updated. Lots of love and strength for the Bushaw and Murphy family. <3

    • WSB August 30, 2011 (10:12 am)

      MB – our partners at the Times had asked us to let them know when there was word of a verdict, and they had a crew here. I will be able to use some of their photos, since we have an informal partnership with them (I was glad to have someone else taking pictures so I could publish the in-progress updates). You may see word of the verdict elsewhere later, probably from a prosecuting attorney’s office news release, but unless somebody sneaked into the back row and then out quickly, I didn’t see anyone else. It is a significant commitment of resources to cover a long trial gavel to gavel, but it’s a story that mattered – it happened in West Seattle, involved West Seattle people, and there was no way we were going to shrug it off. (Almost three years ago, we did the same thing with another local murder trial that no one else covered and most have probably forgotten: https://westseattleblog.com/2008/11/exonerated-alki-18-year-old-out-of-jail-after-a-year )
      Katie: The jury announced it could not reach a verdict – in essence, a hung jury. Much consultation between judge, lawyers, and defendants then followed regarding whether they should be ordered to keep deliberating. When they polled the whole group, only one juror said she disagreed with the assessment that they wouldn’t be able to reach a verdict. So the lawyers agreed to accept the mistrial, and set the stage for a new one.
      – TR

  • george August 30, 2011 (10:14 am)

    So was it ever determined who was responsible for the home invasion that apparently triggered this event?

    • WSB August 30, 2011 (10:18 am)

      That’s a police/prosecutor issue, but as far as I know, no one was ever arrested or charged. I have not yet spoken to the prosecuting attorney’s office regarding the issue of whether anyone else might ever be charged in this case, as certainly there was much mention of another man’s alleged involvement the night of the shooting, and the question of what role if any was played by the robbery victim … I don’t know how much comment they will be able to make given that there will now apparently be another trial in the case.

  • sadday August 30, 2011 (10:19 am)

    GREAT reporting, just number one. So sorry for this family. The verdict doesn’t bring their son back. But at least justice is being served with one of the perps.

  • Casey August 30, 2011 (10:26 am)

    So the mistrial means they will have a new trial? Does this mean new facts/evidence will be presented or how does that work, I don’t know much about the process of the court system. I am so happy to have at least one guilty verdict, especially since it means so much to the family. The family will forever have a hole in their hearts where Steve was, but hopefully this will help bring some closure. Love and prayers to them all.

  • Lura Ercolano August 30, 2011 (10:36 am)

    It’s called a mistrial whenever there is a hung jury.

    They could have an entirely new trial, presenting the same and/or new evidence, but often a mistrial due to a hung jury leads to a plea bargain on a lesser charge.

  • Bert August 30, 2011 (10:42 am)

    Meg and Ron, the world is with you.

  • Dean August 30, 2011 (10:45 am)

    So the mistrial means at least one juror could not see through Chaneys lies. Hey he was one of the home invasion beating victims so revenge was his primary motive in going with the other culprits to do the dirty deed. What did the jury think about why he went along with the plan that night? He said he did not know what was going to happen. So did he think they were all going to Talaricos for a good time and maybe an ice cream cone later? Don’t worry, the next jury will see through the lies. Bye bye Huber. See ya in 40 years.

  • CMT August 30, 2011 (11:35 am)

    Thank you WSB!

  • b August 30, 2011 (11:41 am)

    We’ll take it. This isn’t over by any means, but it’s a step in the right direction and a necessary step at that. Thank you prosecutors, witnesses, jurors, WSB, etc…Now let’s move on to the next phase of this horrendous situation…

  • bsmomma August 30, 2011 (12:29 pm)

    This was a long time coming. This is a huge day for the Bushaw Family, friends and community. Love and Happiness to everyone effected by this. :)

  • phil August 30, 2011 (1:01 pm)

    I truly believe justice was served with Huber. As for Chaney I am saddened and frustrated that we could not come to a verdict. My thoughts and prayers are with the Bushaw family.

  • george August 30, 2011 (1:08 pm)

    Yes, its not over. We need to stop drug abuse to protect our children.
    I hope the Bushaw family finds peace with these verdicts (and the future Chaney verdict). The killing needs to stop.

  • Lura Ercolano August 30, 2011 (1:41 pm)

    Dean – A jurist deciding “not guilty” isn’t necessarily believing the defendant’s version of events. The jurist may simply be saying that the prosecution failed to prove their case. A jurist might believe that a defendant is “probably” lying, or “probably” committed the crime, yet still vote not guilty because “probably” isn’t the same as “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
    I don’t know why the jurors decided as they did in this case, but I respect their efforts and thank them for their important work.

  • Concerned Voter August 30, 2011 (3:21 pm)

    “no ones ever died over marijuana!” hmmm…….

  • wsmom August 30, 2011 (4:12 pm)

    @ Concerned voter – I believe the sentiment your trying to state is that “no one has died using marijuana” i.e. overdose etc. but your sentiment at this time is completely inappropriate and I find it offensive in light of the fact a young man lost his life, not due to using marijuana but because some lowlife thugs decided that they had all of the answers and clearly they did not!

  • Justice? August 30, 2011 (5:18 pm)

    My heart goes out to ALL of the family members involved. This is tragic all the way around and my prayers are with EVRERYONE that has been affected. I do know, however, with the exception of Mr. Sylve and possibly Mr. O’Neal that these men are not “low-life thugs” as they are being portrayed. What has been said of Mr. Bushaw can rightfully be said of the others. They are loving sons, fathers, brothers and friends. They are not criminal masterminds that were out for revenge. There are facts and evidence that the public does not know of yet. Hopefully someday soon they will be brought to light and I guarantee that when they do the view will change as to what this situation was really about. In the meantime just remember that there is more than one side of this horrific story.

  • Justice? August 30, 2011 (5:20 pm)

    I apologize…I meant “Mr. Sylve”…autocorrect.

  • Larry Bernandez August 30, 2011 (6:03 pm)

    thank god that at least the bigger piece of chit of the two was convicted and his defense lawyer wasn’t able to manipulate the jury as Chaney’s lawyer was. I really hope Chaney gets retried. There is no way he didn’t know what was going to happen that night. He was assaulted in a home invasion robbery and he wanted revenge like the rest of the monkeys involved. Unfortunately they seeked that revenge on the wrong person and left a void in alot of peoples lives. We lost a good friend, brother, son, and uncle, and more importantly, we lost a good person the night Steve was taken from us. I am thankful that Bryce will pay for what he did but I pray that they give Chaney a retrial and exhaust every effort possible to give him the justice he deserves. The getaway driver may not have pulled the trigger or orchestrated this heinous attack but he damn sure knew what was going down that night and for that he needs to pay.

  • Honest observation August 30, 2011 (6:05 pm)

    Although I beleive that a person guilty of murder (or any crime) should pay for their transgressions, I still hope that Mr. Huber can “fix himself” in prison. Maybe he should take up reading the Bible or something. On that note, I hope someone is reaching out to the Bushaw family to give them some scriptual encouragement. Maybe they will see Steve again someday.

  • george August 30, 2011 (6:41 pm)

    You might add that selling marijuana incurred him to meet some not so nice people. Its a war on drugs we need to take seriously.

  • Lfauntleroy August 30, 2011 (7:11 pm)

    @ Justice?- I take exception. Young men who decide to set out to shoot someone…sound like low life thugs to me. I don’t care whose son or father or brother or friend they are.

  • Curious George August 30, 2011 (7:41 pm)

    To Justice?: Thank you for your comments. As much as I understand how the friends, family and community of a victim of such a disgusting cold blooded murder want all those whom the prosecutor has deemed as part of it to be convicted, what if one or both of these defendents were not aware, were shocked, that Sylve decided, maybe last moment to kill, as Sylve, in his own testimony said was because: “I was just acting out.”? Wouldn’t Chaney, who was injured, and Huber, whose friend was very badly injured, want to find out who the two violent intruders in the home invasion were…and if Steve Bushaw was indeed the person directing the robbery on the phone, then just killing him would make it that they could never know who the intruders who pistol whipped them, ect., were? For Huber’s attorney to have kept his client off the stand was a huge mistake as was to not cross-examine in more depth the prosecutions’ witnesses, as well as to better have brought out Cheney’s testimony. O’Neal’s testimony was key to getting to the truth as would have been the testimony of the home invasion robbery victim and the 4th man in the car with Chaney, O’Neal and Sylve. The prosecutor did not want any of them on the stand as they would have clarified much of the damning testimony by others and the jury would have had more of a chance at knowing the ‘full’ details. That would be justice. My heart goes out to the jury, who did their best with what they were given. In the end, perhaps others can learn a lesson without having to put their loved ones though the heartache that these have. Both Huber and Bushaw were breaking the law when they sold marijuana. Dealing any kind of drugs is dangerous business. In the end they both paid with their lives; both in the most horrific of ways for their families and friends to deal with.

  • Carla August 30, 2011 (7:52 pm)

    @Honest observation – seriously? “Fix himself”??? In prison. Do you have any idea what prison is like. He will become a hardened criminal if he isn’t already. Prison doesn’t usually make a better man.

  • Honest observation August 30, 2011 (8:21 pm)

    @ Carla- That’s why I said I HOPE he can “fix himself”. Try reading the whole comment before you try jumping on something someone else says. And actually, I have met a person who went to prison and learned from his experience, and although it was a terrible experience, he is out now and not a hardened criminal. Go ahead, tell me how much of a fool I am for “hoping” he doesn’t end up worse than he is. I don’t know him, but if he gets out in 30 yrs or so, I “hope” for his sake and societies sake that he’s a better man.

  • BigBeach August 30, 2011 (8:27 pm)

    The night they took Stevie from the Bushaw family is the same night they took part of the Bushaw family from the rest of us! I may not know the whole family but I do know Stevies mother. Meg, I know the verdict will never bring your son back to you but it will be nice to see the twinkle back into your beautiful blue eyes knowing that today…..justice was served! Thoughts and prayers to the Bushaw family!

  • Justice for Steve August 30, 2011 (8:59 pm)

    I’m hoping this news brings the Bushaw family and friends some peace at this difficult time. While I agree nobody wins in this situation, I do not agree that these men are good men, fathers, brother, husbands ect. If they were they wouldn’t have lured steve to his death and then lied about (multiple times) when confronted by detectives. It was PROVEN during this trial Steve had
    nothing to do with this home robbery and he had NOT smoked “weed” in weeks. (per tox. report) Sad…

  • Ms Pam August 30, 2011 (10:06 pm)

    I am glad that someone is going to pay some kind of price for the killing of this man! It won’t be enough. The family & friends will forever remember & miss this person taken from them in such a wicked action! Crimes like this make us all feel more vulnerable. I wish for Steve’s loved ones, the chance to move on from this tragedy to eventual peace…It will happen…I know what they are going through and my heart aches for them…

  • clb August 31, 2011 (10:57 am)

    We love you Bryce!

  • Justice for Steve August 31, 2011 (11:40 am)

    We LOVE and MISS you Stevie! Gone but never forgotten….The mastermind behind all this, (BRYCE) got what he deserved. Don’t worry about Brandon, he will get his day too!

  • welovestevie August 31, 2011 (2:20 pm)

    I agree with “Justice for Steve” 1000%. Bryce got was he deserved!! I truly hope it eats at his core every minute of every day!! I will never understand how someone can take another persons life!! Stevie is gone but he will always be with us!! RIP my dear friend and Brandon will get what he deserves!!

  • jcutter August 31, 2011 (4:38 pm)

    FREE BRANDON CHANEY!!!!! the jury didnt come back 8-4 for no reason…justice was served for the 3 men responsible for this, now let the innocent man go.. wouldn’t that be considered double jeopardy if they tried to retry him!?

  • Concened Athlete August 31, 2011 (8:05 pm)

    Double jeopardy is only in play if you were convicted first. Which means he couldnt be tried again for the same crime. Please do your reading before you comment on law. If you seriously think Mr. Chaney had nothing to do with it, you havent read the transcripts from the trial.

  • Justice for Steve August 31, 2011 (8:24 pm)

    Um no jcutter its not double jeopardy because it was a hung jury, the court will find a jury until a final guilty/not guilty or aquitted…and you better belive the prosecution lawyers are planning to retry him…He was the driver! To your point, it was 8 to 4 to convict him so during the next trial bryce wont be there as a distraction to the jury and the jury will see right through all his “bad
    friend choices” and “I was scared” nonsense. My heart goes out to his famiy for having to deal with this but at the end of the day they can still see and talk to their son and they do, Steves parents cannot and will not ever be able to again and justice needs to be served by ALL involved in this very senseless and unnessacery act of violence….

  • ant August 31, 2011 (8:50 pm)

    @ curious george- Though I disagree with everything you said, you are entitled to your opinion and I respect that. There is however one thing you said which is COMPLETELY WRONG! At the end of your statement you have the audacity to state that both Steve and piece of chit Bryce ended up paying with their lives. If I am not mistaken, Bryce is still breathing. In fact, based on the sentencing range stated on the King County Prosecutors website his maximum sentence is 31 years. This means that unless he gets killed in prison(I’ll keep my fingers crossed on that one) he will be a free man one day. Free to walk this earth and experience life again. Steve will never have that opportunity. Please don’t try to compare the loss of a truly kind and good person to the loss of a piece of chit monkey with no regard for human life. @ jcutter- I hope that chaney gets set free as well. Then I hope that on his way out of the courtroom he gets run over twice by a car driven by Alex Tribec. How’s that for your double jeopardy?

  • Justice? August 31, 2011 (9:08 pm)

    If you know Brandon Chaney or Bryce Huber at all then you know that what happened to Steve Bushaw was not what they intended. Bryce and Brandon are no more ” thugs” than Steve Bushaw was. This is the truth.

  • observer August 31, 2011 (10:38 pm)

    Justice….How dare you compare these 2 murders to the victim. One lured an innocent man to his death and the other aided 2 gunman in their escape. Intended or not (I’m not buying their story that they knew nothing)after finding out that Steven was dead, they did nothing to assist the police in their investigation. Innocent men have no reason to lie to the police. If not “thugs” perhaps “heartless”, “arrogant”, “useless to society” or “outright evil” better applies.

  • soccermom August 31, 2011 (11:42 pm)

    My thoughts and prayers are with the Bushaw family. Nobody has the right to take another person’s life. Thou shall not kill. His death was senseless. May Steve rest in peace now and I hope he is kicking that soccer ball around up in Heaven.

  • j cutter August 31, 2011 (11:58 pm)

    @justice….”Bryce and Brandon are no more “thugs” than Steve bushaw was”…well said

  • MB September 1, 2011 (9:55 am)

    I can’t help but feel the need to remind some commenters that intended or not, Steve is dead….gone forever…never, ever coming back. Although it didn’t sound like Mr.Huber was too upset about that considering how much he insisted they weren’t friends. In the end, you can go visit Bryce…watch him breath…fantasize about what he will do with the remainder of his LIFE when he is released…maybe even tell him a joke in hopes of seeing his smile. Unfortunately, the Bushaw family and all of Steve’s friends weren’t given that luxury. Just something to keep in mind. I understand loyalty, believe me…but you must remember how lucky you are to still have a living person to display that loyalty and faith for…

  • wsmom September 1, 2011 (11:45 am)

    @ justice and jcutter – I can’t believe that you would state that Steve was no better than Bryce or Brandon?! Steve may not have been perfect (who is?) but there is a huge difference between murdering someone or particpating in the murder of someone than dealing, smoking, etc. I don’t think they are even in the same category. The detectives were quoted in the paper yesterday that Steve had nothing to do with the home invasion robbery, so these thugs did all of this for no reason at all. When I chose the words “low-life thugs” in my original post it was because those were the kindest and least inflammatory words I could find to use and get my point across. I believe all of these men may have been kind and loving to their families but they showed none of that or any respect for human life they night THEY ALL participated in the murder of Steve.

  • someone who cares September 1, 2011 (12:38 pm)

    for all of you who wish bad things upon Brandon here is what the Bible has to say, revenge is for those that keep account of injury, the Bible says to love your enemies.
    Matthew 6:14-15
    For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

    @ant to wish and hope DEATH upon someone, what kind of a person are you? I will forgive you now for your comments, although I dont agree by no means with what happend to Steve I do not wish death upon anyone involved in this case, leave it up to the Lord who says “vengence is Mine ” if you know anything about the bible when Jesus was on the cross he forgave a murderer who asked for forgiveness and told him you will be with me in heaven. You may be angry understandable but to wish death upon someone makes you no better than a murderer.

    Daniel 9:9
    The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;

  • MB September 1, 2011 (1:25 pm)

    Seriously? Did I really just read someone using the bible to compare an outraged and grieving community to murderers? It would be awesome to not see bible verses used to belittle a family’s totally justified anger! Really???? I would love to believe that Mr.Chaney had no clue what was going to happen that night, though I haven’t decided yet whether I do or not. It seems like quite a stretch that he would have had no idea. Again, I can’t help but point out that Mr.Chaney, along with Mr.Huber (and the other two) find themselves in this position because THEY put themselves there! Steve isn’t here accusing them, there are facts and evidence that led the police to these 4 names. Rather than chastising people that have every right to be angry, have every right to say mean things, have every right to work through their grief…how about asking yourself why this conversation is even being had?

    • WSB September 1, 2011 (2:34 pm)

      And to that point, as site owner, I believe that after a couple days, all that could be said, has been said. We have a rule of “not blaming the victim” and some of what commenters have said or have tried to say is dangerously close to that – nobody makes perfect choices, but no one ever deserves to be the victim of any crime. No one, whether angel or devil, and most of us lie inbetween. We will keep watch on this case between now and the scheduled sentencings, and if anything changes, we will publish a separate story; if anyone close to the case hears of new information and hasn’t seen a story here, by all means, please contact us at editor@westseattleblog.com, we keep a long followup/watch list but sometimes it’s that ONE day we don’t look at the file, that something happens! – Thanks, TR

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