Bush trial appears set to begin this month

Sean Alonzo Bush

Nearly six years after he was arrested, the death penalty trial for Sean Alonzo Bush appears to set start later this month as scheduled.

 

Bush — who is facing a single count of first-degree murder for the shooting and stabbing death of his estranged wife, Nicole Bush — was in court Tuesday to hear testimony from a sergeant with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

That testimony was videotaped because the sergeant, who was a detective at the time of the Nicole Bush death investigation, will not be available to testify in court later this month.

During direct examination by Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Dunton, the sergeant presented evidence taken from both Sean and Nicole Bush’s cellphones and discussed the state of two hard drives found in Sean Bush’s computer.

After Tuesday’s testimony, Assistant State Attorney Mark Johnson and Ray Warren, with the Public Defender’s Office, told Circuit Judge Howard Maltz that they should be ready for trial as scheduled.

Much of what remains is for Warren and Johnson to hash out what needs to be redacted from transcripts of interviews and conversations with Sean Bush that are planned to be used at trial.

The two indicated they should have that done in time to head for jury selection in less than a week.

“I would estimate that between 75 and 80 percent of the issues Mark and I agree on,” Warren said.

Bush, 48, is scheduled to be back in court Friday morning for docket sounding and for attorneys to hash out any last minute issues.

If none remain, jury selection will begin on July 17.

Bush was arrested in August 2011, three months after Nicole Bush was found in her Fruit Cove home suffering from multiple gunshot and stab wounds. She died later at an area hospital. He is also facing a single count of burglary of a dwelling with a person assaulted while armed with a firearm.

The trial has faced numerous delays, the most recent of which came after the U.S. Supreme Court, in January 2016, ruled that Florida’s procedures for death sentences were unconstitutional.

Once those issues were resolved with new laws from the state Legislature and guidance from the Florida Supreme Court, Maltz, in March, scheduled the case for a July trial.

 

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