Friday, March 25, 2011

Bush found to be eligible for the death penalty

A Pima County Superior Court jury has determined that convicted double murderer Jason Eugene Bush is now eligible to be sentenced to death. The penalty phase of the proceedings will begin on Thursday, March 31, before Judge John S. Leonardo.

Raul and Brisenia Flores
Bush, 36, was also found guilty of the attempted first-degree murder of Gina Marie Gonzalez; as well as of one count of burglary in the first-degree; one count of aggravated assault, serious physical injury; one count of aggravated assault, deadly weapon/dangerous instrument; one count of armed robbery; and one count of aggravated armed robbery.

Co-defendant Shawna Forde was recently convicted of all of these charges and was sentenced to death by a superior court jury.

Deputy County Attorney Kellie Johnson urged the jury to determine if the aggravating factors alleged by the prosecution were present during the commission of the murders of Raul and Brisenia Flores. “Not all first-degree murders, standing alone, are something that make someone eligible for the death penalty,” she said. “It’s these aggravating factors that make someone eligible.”
It took the jury 15-minutes to find that:  
  1. The defendant has been convicted of another offense in the United States for which under Arizona law a sentence of life imprisonment or death was imposable.
  2. The defendant has been or was previously convicted of a serious offense, whether preparatory or completed. Convictions for serious offenses committed on the same occasion as the homicide, or not committed on the same occasion but consolidated for trial with the homicide, shall be treated as a serious offense under this paragraph.
  3. The defendant was an adult at the time the offense was committed or was tried as an adult and the murdered person was under 15 years of age, was an unborn child in the womb at any stage of its development or was 70 years of age or older.

As with the first phase of the trial, the defense presented no evidence or argument during the second phase of the trial.