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Thursday, December 8, 2011

[OR] Former Medford police officer Brian Brush convicted of murdering ex girlfriend Lisa Bonney

Lisa Bonney
March 3, 1964 - September 11, 2009

...A Washington state jury convicted former Medford police officer Brian Brush on Tuesday of aggravated first-degree murder in the shooting of a former girlfriend ...

...He also had diagnosed Brush with "intermittent explosive disorder and PTSD" and that he continued to experience nightmares, hearing people asking him for help. Hendrickson said those symptoms were related to his time as a police officer...

..."Were the handcuffs found in the truck for the dog... There was no dog hair in the car, no dog toys in the car, no evidence of a dog in the truck at all. Even when Mr. Brush was a policeman, he didn’t carry handcuffs with him. He came to the beach to kill his girlfriend, knowing the relationship was over..."

[OR] Slain Lisa Bonney feared her former-cop, businessman ex-boyfriend: "I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, he's going to kill me'"... - ..."I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, he's going to kill me,'" [Lisa] Bonney wrote in the petition for a protection order... [Brian Brushes' ex-wife] Tammie Brush wrote that she filed for divorce from Brush when he threatened to kill her... [Lisa Bonney's sister Kim] Klingler said her sister ended her relationship with Brush two months ago. Then, she said, the stalking began and Bonney got a restraining order. "She called me every night; she was scared"...

Penttila's Chapel by The Sea
Long Beach resident Lisa G. Bonney, 45, died tragically September 11, 2009 in Long Beach. Born March 3, 1964 in Tacoma, Washington, she was the daughter of Gene and Judith (McDowell) Klingler. In 1973 she moved with her family to the Peninsula where she attended grade school and graduated from Ilwaco High School. Lisa was a real estate agent for Long Beach Realty. Blessed with a friendly smile and warm personality, Lisa enjoyed many friendships and touched the lives of all who knew her... [Full article here]

Mail Tribune
December 07, 2011
[Excerpts] A Washington state jury convicted former Medford police officer Brian Brush on Tuesday of aggravated first-degree murder in the shooting of a former girlfriend in 2009. Brush, 49, was charged with shooting to death Lisa Bonney on Sept. 11, 2009, in Long Beach, Wash. Bonney was a former girlfriend of the defendant, who served with the Medford Police Department... Oregon's deputy state medical examiner, Dr. Clifford Nelson, who performed an autopsy on Bonney, testified that she had been shot at close range four times with a shotgun... Defense attorneys and mental health specialists called by the defense to testify said Brush was a troubled, distraught man who prior to the shooting had lost everything... Prosecutors said, however, that the killing was intentional and pre-meditated... Brush will likely be sentenced to life without parole, due to aggravating circumstances in the murder. [Full article here]

Nancy Butterfield
December 7, 2011
[Excerpts] ... [Brian] Brush, 49, was a Medford police officer who began a second career in business... A few months before Brush killed [Lisa] Bonney, FBI agents investigating financial crimes raided the boat company's factory in Green and confiscated records... Brush did not testify in his defense, and his attorneys, Erik Kupka and David Mistachkin, didn't dispute that Brush shot Bonney four times. But they argued that Brush's business failings and personal problems diminished his capacity to understand what he was doing. The prosecution argued that Brush met Bonney at the beach with plans to kill her. A defense witness, Baltimore forensic psychiatrist Christine Tellefsen, testified Monday that Brush was a narcissist who fell hard and snapped. "He had his own TV program, a fishing and hunting show, an indication of how well he was doing. He was a celebrity in the boating world," she said. "He had lost the company, disappointed his employees, he was estranged from his daughter, his marriage had failed, his mother had died, he had lost his house, he had no job, and he had lost his pride and joy — his boat. Lisa was the only thing he had left in his life." Tellefsen said that on the day of the shooting, Brush went to a bank in Long Beach to sign away his boat, which his company built to his own design. He also was in danger of losing his home in Long Beach and had wanted to turn it over to the builder but needed Bonney's permission because her name was on the deed. "She didn't want to do that," Tellefsen said. "She said that maybe things would get better.... [Full article here]

BRUSH CONVICTED OF 1ST DEGREE MURDER" Defense’s last-gasp effort to elicit sympathy falls short
By Nancy Butterfield
Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It took a Pacific County Superior Court jury less than two hours to convict Brian Brush of aggravated first-degree murder.

More than 800 days have passed since [Brian] Brush used a 12-gauge shotgun to kill Lisa Bonney, 45, near the north end of the Long Beach Boardwalk on a busy September afternoon. He has spent all those days behind bars. Now it is likely he will end his days in prison after jurors found he premeditated his crime. Aggravating circumstances will likely guarantee life in prison without possibility of parole.

Judge Michael Sullivan sent the jury to deliberate at about 11 a.m. Tuesday, midway through the trial’s fifth day. They sent word before 1 p.m. that they were prepared to deliver their verdict.

Brush, 49, who has sometimes wept during some past court appearances, maintained his composure as his conviction was delivered. Bonney’s family rejoiced at the delivery of justice after a long ordeal.

Court proceedings continued beyond the Chinook Observer’s press deadline Tuesday, with "Phase 2" to consider how a pattern of domestic violence should influence sentencing. See ongoing coverage at www.chinookobserver.com.

Two expert witnesses testified most of the day Monday during the third day of the first-degree murder trial of Brian K. Brush. Brush, 49, is accused of shooting his estranged girlfriend, Lisa Bonney, at the Bolstad Beach Approach in Long Beach on Sept. 11, 2009.

The defense rested its case Monday afternoon, with closing arguments and jury deliberations commencing Tuesday. Brush did not take the stand in his own defense, but testimony by a defense psychologist permitted his attorneys to tell the jury his side of the story leading up Bonney’s death.

Defense attorney Erik Kupka and his partner, David Mistachkin, began the day, questioning Dr. Christine Tellefsen, a forensic psychiatrist from Baltimore. She and Dr. Ray Hendrickson, a psychologist at Western State Hospital in Lakewood who was called by the prosecution, were the only two witnesses questioned Monday.

Both doctors portrayed Brush as a troubled man who, over the previous two years before the slaying, had lost everything, including his million-dollar boat building business in Roseburg, Ore. "He had been in his heyday," Tellefsen said. "He had his own TV program, a fishing and hunting show, an indication of how well he was doing. He was a celebrity in the boating world."

But that celebrity ended in disaster, she continued. "He had lost the company, disappointed his employees, he was estranged from his daughter, his marriage had failed, his mother had died, he had lost his house, he had no job, and he had lost his pride and joy — his boat. Lisa was the only thing he had left in his life."

Tellefsen continued, saying that on the day of the shooting, Brush had gone to the bank in Long Beach to sign away his boat, which his company built to his own design. He also was in danger of losing his home in Long Beach and had wanted to turn it over to the builder but needed Bonney’s permission to do so as her name was on the deed. "She didn’t want to do that," Tellefsen said. "She said that maybe things would get better."

On the day of the event, Tellefsen said Brush had taken his dog, Bailey, out to train him to hunt, firing his shotgun near the dog so it would not be frightened of the noise. He had devised a holder for the dog’s leash by slipping handcuffs onto the seatbelt of his truck and looping the dog’s leash through one end of the cuffs. After returning to his home, he had been distracted, she said, because Bonney had texted him and asked him to perform some chores in the yard of the home, and he had failed to put away his gun — which she said was his usual practice — instead leaving it in his pickup truck.

Later, he asked Bonney to meet him at the beach approach, where there was a large crowd. Tellefsen said the two began to argue because Brush told Bonney that he wanted to give up their house and return to Oregon. "Lisa objected to giving up the home," Tellefsen said, "and she became angry, demeaning Mr. Brush, calling him a ‘pussy,’ and telling him to ‘be a man’."

"He stood up, grabbed Lisa’s hand, and he says he can’t remember anything after that until he was in police custody at the Long Beach Police Department," she said, adding that during the argument he had told Bonney to quiet down because there was a woman with a baby passing by. "He was clearly aware of the people there," Tellefsen said. "The fact that he would do the shooting in front of all those people is astounding. Such bad judgment was shocking."

Tellefsen said that after talking with Brush, she had determined that he was "so caught up in his emotions, he was unable to pay attention to anything else, "He had something like tunnel vision," she said, adding that during her career she has interviewed "hundreds" of people who have said they can’t remember anything about the crucial incidents. She said she had attempted to draw Brush out, questioning him many times about the incident but she "got nowhere with him. She said she eventually determined he was suffering from psychogenic amnesia. "The event was just too overwhelming for him to recall," she said, explaining that she has seen the same thing in combat troops who have undergone a "huge trauma. Sometimes they never regain their memories of the event," she said.

She said she had also diagnosed Brush with post-traumatic stress syndrome, which is "not uncommon for someone who has seen someone he or she loves being killed."

After the shooting, Tellefsen said Brush had spoken with the police officers and has been in jail ever since. "He wasn’t doing very well in jail," she said. "He was depressed and was contemplating suicide."

Over the time since the incident, Brush has been treated and evaluated three times at Western by Dr. Hendrickson and was deemed competent to stand trial by Pacific County Judge Michael Sullivan.

While at Western, Brush had been administered several powerful anti-depressent drugs and had returned to prison custody.

Tellefsen said she determined Brush had been on a "roller coaster" in his relationship with Bonney, who had told him she wanted to get married, then told him she was leaving. "He couldn’t break away from her," she said. "His friends and relatives told him the relationship wasn’t good but he couldn’t see it. "It’s similar to a battered wife who continues to return to her husband. Lisa was his life preserver in the rough seas of his life.

At the time of the shooting, Tellefsen said Brush’s brain was "a pressure cooker" ready to explode. Her diagnosis of Brush’s conditions was severe depression, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and narcissism, as well as intermittent explosive disorder. She said his ability to make decisions and concentrate was severely impaired and he had more and more problems controlling his temper. "He was depressed, angry and hurt," she said, "a wealth of emotions he couldn’t contain."

Tellefsen said Brush had no history of physical violence before his presonal and financial problems began, "just running his mouth," she said, adding that he didn’t drink or use drugs.

As to his narcissism, Tellefsen said, "He was the sun and all others were the planets. He had a big ego, he considered himself entitled, especially with women." That, combined with the PTSD and depression meant Brush "hadn’t been functioning normally for a long time," she said.

After a lunch break, the jury returned to the courtroom and Tellefsen was cross-examined about Brush’s problems with that had begun in earnest in 2007 after the death of his mother.

Prosecutor Mark McClain asked about an incident about a month before the shooting when Brush and Bonney were arguing and she had locked him in the garage at their home and he had taken a hammer to her vehicle. "It was sort of an omen," of things to come, Tellefsen said. The police were called during the incident and Bonney was arrested and jailed for domestic violence, McClain noted. He also described a "stalking" incident when Brush followed Bonney from Oysterville to another person’s home and began "dogging" her, thinking she was having an affair.

"He still had a grip on his emotions" at that time, Tellefsen said.

McClain continued to question Tellefsen about Brush’s "intent" during the incident and the fact that he continued to say he remembered nothing about it.

Defense attorney Metashkin took over the questioning at that point, with Tellefsen saying that a person can become "suddenly enraged and change his or her behavior completely. I see that a lot," she said. "It’s not uncommon. The series of events (during the shooting) took place in seconds. The actions were ones he had done many times in the past when he was hunting. It wasn’t novel behavior for him. It was automatic, like a reflex. When he was overwhelmed by the argument, he was acting on a reflex, not a thought, it just happened, a tsunami of emotion. When he hit the car with the hammer, it was an indication he was starting to lose control." Earlier, Brush had been trying to salvage the relationship, she said, "then she says ‘It’s over,’ and ‘You’re not a man.’ She gave him hope than it all came crashing down."

The defense rested at that point and McClain began questioning Dr. Hendrickson.

Hendrickson, a psychologist at Western State Hospital, outlined his education history, saying that, besides his degree in psychology, he also holds degrees in chemistry and law and practiced as a lawyer for 31 years. He teaches at the University of Washington and concentrates exclusively on forensic psychology, he said, then described the instances when he evaluate and treated Brush at Western — in November 2009, March 2010, May 2010 and November of this year. He said Brush’s most recent diagnosis was treatable symptoms of a major depressive disorder that was in remission with medication and had "abated considerably." He also had diagnosed Brush with "intermittent explosive disorder and PTSD" and that he continued to experience nightmares, hearing people asking him for help. Hendrickson said those symptoms were related to his time as a police officer in Roseburg, when he was present at fatal automobile accidents, among other incidents.

 When McClain asked Hendrickson how the depression related to his condition, he answered that Brush suffered from anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure), weight loss and other symptoms for some time earlier, after his mother’s death, his divorce and the loss of his business after the government shut it down. "He had always been so in control of everything," he said, "and when he wasn’t in control, especially of his business, it was very important to him. The symptoms are all related to incidents in his life. He wasn’t vegetative, he wasn’t incapacitated, he carried on." Hendrickson said that after the business failed and his house was foreclosed, he moved to Long Beach. "He was still able to act with intention to achieve a result," he said, "for example he called Miss Bonney and arranged to meet her at the beach approach."

Hendrickson continued, describing the argument between Brush and Bonney, saying she had tried to leave "or vice versa, according to Mr. Brush. He turns around, gets the gun, aims, fires, pumps, fires, pumps, etc. Certainly with that, there was a perception of what he was doing, it was an intentional act. As for pre-meditation, it would only have been for a second, to think about it."

The stalking incident with Bonney also was a "deliberate, goal-directed act," Hendrickson said.

McClain asked if Brush’s major depressive disorder clouding his judgment and impairing his impulse control would form a basis for diminished capacity, to which Hendrickson answered, "No."

"Would his PTSD condition impair his ability to function?" McClain asked. Hendrickson responded, "Yes."

"Would the intermittent explosive disorder result in diminished capacity?" McClain asked. "It’s possible it would exacerbate his other conditions," Hendrickson answered. "It’s not a yes or no answer. We have to look at each case individually in a universe of possibilities. It’s the symptoms that create the problems."

McClain asked Hendrickson about Brush’s condition after the shooting. He said he was tearful and non-responsive, but that did not diminish his ability to form intent.

Hendrickson then discussed Brush’s amnesia after the shooting, saying that Brush’s inability to remember the event is an example of psychotropic amnesia and also of intermittent explosive disorder. "It could cloud his memory," he said, "maybe because he doesn’t want to remember."

Tellefsen then returned to the stand, with Mistachkin asking her if she agreed that Brush acted with intent. "Not entirely," she said. "We have a gas pedal and a brake pedal. Mr. Brush was operating without a brake pedal. This is why I think he lacked the ability to stop his actions. It was always hard for him to control his temper and when he was depressed, it became even harder."

"Was the shooting pre-meditated? Mistachkin asked.

"It goes without saying," Tellefsen said. "Once he left the bench, he was on a roll. There were people around, cops, and a baby in a stroller. That didn’t stop him. He was oblivious. There was no containing him."

Mistachkin asked her how many cases she had been involved with in her career. "Thousands," she replied. "How many times have the cases been similar to this one?" Mistachkin asked. "Rarely," she said.

Sullivan then dismissed the jury until Tuesday, when the trial began with Sullivan reading several pages of instructions to the jury, outlining possible verdicts, including lesser crimes of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter. Sullivan also described the aggravating circumstances included in the first-degree murder charge, including "deliberate cruelty."

McClain began his closing argument saying that the state had to prove to the jury that Brush "acted with intent and pre-meditation, resulting in the death of Bonney. There’s no doubt Bonney died on that date," he said, then produced the rifle used in the crime. "Mr. Brush shot this rifle four times," he said. "It was an intentional act to kill Lisa Bonney."

Addressing pre-meditation, McClain said Brush "had a design to kill deliberately formed, however short. He goes back for the gun, opens the door of the truck, gets the gun and shoots it. Going back farther, he goes to the beach approach with the gun. He took his dog shooting in the morning and forgets the gun in the truck. Were the handcuffs found in the truck for the dog?" he asked. "There was no dog hair in the car, no dog toys in the car, no evidence of a dog in the truck at all. Even when Mr. Brush was a policeman, he didn’t carry handcuffs with him. He came to the beach to kill his girlfriend, knowing the relationship was over. Five witnesses saw him shoot her. He was going to handcuff her and take her elsewhere and kill her but had to change his plan. There was no evidence of a mental snap."

McClain also pointed to evidence found in Brush’s home of photographs of "happier times" and a wedding dress Bonney had purchased as well as two unused shotgun shells on the bar in the home. "He was going to take her back there and kill her," he said. He then tells the jury to fill in Verdict Form A of guilty of first-degree murder with aggravating circumstances and domestic violence. "Mr. Brush’s conduct manifested deliberate cruelty," he said.

"Mr. Brush knew he would kill that day," McClain said. "The fourth shot to Miss Bonney’s head was deliberate pre-meditated murder."

Mistachkin then presente closing arguments for the defense, saying to the jury that "this is a difficult case on a lot of levels. It was a tragedy, a horrible thing. No one should have to look at those autopsy photos, but you have to get at it and look at the case objectively. The facts are not in dispute," he said. "The real issue is why. It was a killing. That doesn’t mean it was murder."

He then explained the difference between first- and second-degree murder, intent, and "beyond a reasonable doubt" to the jury. "One key is intent," he said, then comparing the levels of expertise among the expert witnesses. "Hendrickson isn’t an MD," he said, "Dr. Tellefsen is.. Whose opinion is more credible?"

Mistachkin pointed out that Long Beach Police Department Officer Casey Meling did not perform tests on Brush’s truck to determine if there was, in fact, a dog in the vehicle. "Is there any evidence to indicate pre-meditation?" he asked. "Did the state p;rove it? No. He was in a public place during Rod Run with multiple cops present. If it was pre-meditated would he do it there in front of many witnesses? No. It makes no sense. The jury must decide."

"Dr. Tellefsen explained the Mr. Brush snapped," Mistachkin continued. "Why? Mr. Brush was suffering from major depression, intermittent explosive disorder and had suffered tremendous losses. He was isolated in Long Beach. He had nothing but Lisa. He was in a fragile mental state, a pressure cooker. She tells him to be a man and questions his decisions. That’s the snap."

Mistachkin said Brush had owned the gun for 30 years and shooting it was a reflex after his many hunting trips. "There was no thought," he said, "no intent, no premeditation. A witness described him as ‘oblivious’ to his surroundings after the shooting, which took less than 30 seconds. He didn’t think about it. Did he try to flee after the shooting? No. He turned and walked away aimlessly, throwing the gun down. He never remembered what he had done."

He went on to say that a recording of the extensive interviews with Brush after the shooting reveals Brush saying "I don’t remember" over and over and crying. "Tellefsen’s diagnosis alone is enough to prove severely diminished capacity. He was unable to form intent to commit a crime," he said.

Mistachkin urged the jury to be objective and to evaluate the evidence carefully. "If you agree with Dr. Tellefsen’s testimony, you must find Mr. Brush not guilty," he said. "If you are in doubt about finding him guilty of first- or second-degree murder, that leaves you with first-degree manslaughter."

McClain rebutted Mistachkin’s statement, saying "He couldn’t be more wrong. He’s trying to say Mr. Brush snapped. If he snapped, why were then three empty shells in the firearm after he shot it four times? Why did he stop shooting? It was all; controlled and deliberate. He was a trained police officer. After the shooting, he dropped to his knees and to the ground in approved arrest mode. He snapped? That’s ridiculous.

"Where is the evidence of Brush’s trauma?" McClain continued. "Dr. Tellefsen was wrong with some of her facts and relics of evidence from Mr. Brush, for example, that he was abused as a child. His intent is obvious. As for him having money problems, he had more than $10,000 in the bank and was expecting a million-dollar tax return. He had no money troubles.

"Dr. Nelson (the state medical examiner) said the shooting was intentional and pre-meditated. If Mr. Brush was obsessive/compulsive he would have put the gun away. He was waiting for her at the beach approach to kill her."

 Sullivan then dismissed the jury to deliberate their decision. [LINK]

[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fatality fatalities murder oregon state politics]



    ...Remember her energy for living and her ability to spread kindness and humor. She made this a better place to live, now it is up to us to carry on her spirit in our own way...

    ...Olivia, Elizabeth, and Ray, please know our hearts go out to you all. We so enjoyed Lisa's warm hug whenever she would come in to see us...

    ...She was a bright light in any situation and I referred to her as my 'Friend of Wisdom' as she always new what to say and when to say it. I always admired her for her strength and 'can do' attitude as well...

    ...I had (have)a crush on you, but never acted on it -- because I could feel there was something in your life creating pressure -- and maybe the fact of me never being able to measure up to the world you deserved. When I told you I never read the letter you sent in error to my email -- it was the truth. I read the letter today -- nearly two years later and it breaks my heart to know the pain inside. I will miss you my friend but will never forget the spirit. You were a much bigger person than I could ever hope to be and your presence will be missed. Good-Bye friend...

    ...What is our loss is Heaven's gain...

    ...To all of Lisa's family...I am so so sorry for your loss. I am sorry for all of us....to lose such a great, loving gal as Lisa. Her sparkly eyes, quick laughter...just kindness and instant warmth. I am grateful that she is in heaven, sad for us left behind. I will never forget her. I will pray for the family...

    ...You just couldn't be unhappy when Lisa was around...

    ...Lisa, What fun you were. I loved watching you bounce into the office, ready for anything! Your energy and light will be reflected by all of us who loved you. I am sending light, love, and hope to your family. You were one in a million!

  2. [OR] Ex-Medford Police Officer Brian Brush gets 88 years for murdering ex-girlfriend, Lisa Bonney


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