(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.