KELSO, Wash. -- “I plead guilty.”
With those words, Brandon Wright ended a journey for justice that took 22 years to complete. Wright pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge for killing Robert Bushey in Kelso in 1994.
After his plea, Wright spoke to the Bushey family, and said he’s sorry.
“I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart to the Bushey family,” Wright said. “No family should have to go through this kind of nightmare.”
After the plea, Bushey’s two sons spoke. By phone, Terry Bushey said he forgave Wright, and that he hoped Wright would receive a lighter sentence. Wright has a family, and Terry Bushey said he doesn’t want Wright's kids to grow up like he did.
“I do not want Brandon’s sons to grow up without a father, someone to teach them right from wrong,” said Terry Bushey.
Prosecutor Jason Laurine said the Bushey’s grace is inspiring, but he can't erase what Wright did that night in 1994.
“There is a loss of life. Someone is dead,” said Laurine, who reminded the court that Bushey was stabbed more than 50 times.
In the end, Judge Michael Evans accepted the prosecutor’s recommendation on a sentence: 17 years.
The plea deal already included a lesser charge, as Wright initially was facing first-degree aggravated murder. If convicted on that charge, Wright would have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
After the hearing, Trevor Bushey said he had hoped for a sentence of five to 10 years, but that he was pleased that the judge listened to him and his family in making the decision.