The Times West Virginian

Local News

April 9, 2014

Pretrial motions filed in Bush case

Change of venue one of three arguments

FAIRMONT — Phillip Reese Bush attended a pretrial motions session in the Marion County Court House.

Bush was not physically present in the courtroom due to medical reasons, but he was on live video during the pretrial motions. Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Wilson did not have any motions.

“I have a motion to preclude state from calling defendant as a witness, a motion for dismissal due to unnecessary pre-indictment delay, and then an amended motion for a change of venue,” Marion County Circuit Judge Michael Aloi said.

David Grunau and Scott Shough are Bush’s defense counsels. Grunau spoke first and told the court room to not hear the first motion because it was intended for the Eddie Washington trial, which concluded in November after Washington accepted a plea deal for his part in the 1974 triple Windmill Park homicides.

“The motion to dismiss due to unnecessary indictment delay is a motion that is going to require testimony and the presentation of evidence for which we do not have enough time for today,” Grunau said. “Today is going to be the presentation of our motion for our change of venue.”

Shough then presented the reasoning for the motion for change of motion, which was primarily based up on a survey taken by an expert.

“Quite frankly, your honor, the most striking element, for me, is the fact that 30 percent of the Marion County participants in the survey indicated that they believe that Mr. Bush was either definitely guilty or probably guilty,” Shough said. “So, that’s one out of every three individuals contacted (has) already made their mind up as to his guilt or innocence and we have not gotten to voir dire or (make a) selection of any kind.”

Shough also cited surveyed individuals who made references to Bush’s previous cases.

“Did your expert have an opinion on what he or she would consider a significant percentage in a community?” Aloi asked the defense.

According to the defense, the expert did not provide a number that was specific.

“He does state that the level of discussion among the community, among the people who were sampled, is significant given the county's overall population,” Shough said.

Wilson rebutted the defense’s motion by quoting from a ruling in a 1983 case, State v. Williams.

“(It says) the mere existence of widespread publicity is not in of itself sufficient for required change of venue, nor is mere proof of prejudice against the accused,” Wilson said.

Wilson also commented on the questions and information on the survey. According to Wilson, one such question indicated that one of the two accused men had pleaded guilty.

Aloi pointed out that there was very little recollection of the events for jurors in the related Eddie Jack Washington case.

“I think we can pick a jury in Marion County, your honor,” Wilson said. “If we can panel 75-80 people, and we cannot (find a jury), the state will not object to a change of venue.”

Shough pointed out that the survey followed state-recognized rules for gathering data and that the survey showed surveyed people, not the publicity, were biased. Shough also agreed that two previous trials involving Bush were held outside Marion County.

“I will have at least two witnesses and it will be safe to schedule between an hour and two hours,” Grunau said. “There is an amended motion that is forthcoming that includes testimony from the state’s detectives and some others from the Washington case.”

Bush is currently serving life in prison at Mt. Olive Correctional Facility for conviction in two unrelated homicides from 1982, although there is a chance that he may receive a new trial for that decision.

“Mr. Bush has a petition for habeas corpus granted for an unrelated case ... that resulted in his incarceration in Mt. Olive for life,” Grunau said. “That matter is now pending before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. The oral argument has been heard. We are awaiting  a decision from the West Virginia Supreme Court.”

Wilson says he would drop the Marion County case if Mr. Bush’s life sentence becomes a re-trial.

The West Virginia Supreme Court is expected to make a decision by June 18, Wilson said.

The trial is expected to continue during the June term of court.

Bush is currently serving two life sentences for a double murder in Fairmont in 1982. He is currently facing charges in connection to the 1974 triple Windmill Park homicides.

Email Richard Babich at or follow him on Twitter @rbabichTWV.

Text Only
Local News
  • Alecto executive to speak at chamber dinner

    The Marion County Chamber of Commerce’s 61st annual dinner is putting a spotlight on the future of Fairmont General Hospital.

    July 30, 2014

  • Alva Groves.JPG Remains of Korean War veteran coming home

    After 63 years, the remains of a Korean War veteran are coming home.
    Those remains are of Cpl. Alva Clifford Groves, of Four States, who lost his life during the Korean War. Groves will be brought home to West Virginia on Tuesday, Aug. 5.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • $5,000 allocated to Korean War Veterans Memorial

    The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Marion County is closer to completion thanks to an allocation from the county commission.

    July 30, 2014

  • Fairmont man arrested on heroin charges

    A Fairmont man has been arrested on heroin charges.

    July 30, 2014

  • Ronald Mersky-EG.JPG Landfill safety taught at workshop

     Educators from around the state started a three-day workshop to learn more about recycling.
    The Marion County Recycling and Litter Control, and Project ALERT partnered with West Virginia University and NASA IV & V Facility to host “Marion County, West Virginia, Earth and Beyond” workshop.
    On Tuesday, educators learned more about recycling solid waste material properly.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • FirstEnergy ending retiree health care subsidies Dec. 31

    he end is drawing near for FirstEnergy Corp.’s health care subsidies for retirees.
    As of Jan. 1, 2015, FirstEnergy will no longer provide subsidized health care for retirees. Todd Meyers, spokesman for Mon Power, which is one of the utility companies under FirstEnergy, said this was a complex decision.
    “It’s a difficult thing, I know, but health care costs have skyrocketed in this country and many companies have had to unfortunately trim back on health care,” he said.

    July 30, 2014

  • Alecto plans changes for FGH

    Fairmont General Hospital’s sales proceedings are moving forward with the approval of Alecto Healthcare Services Fairmont LLC’s Certificate of Need (CON) by the West Virginia Healthcare Authority July 21.
    In West Virginia, a CON is required of all health care providers before they add or expand health care services, exceed the capital expenditure threshold of $3,048,803, obtain medical equipment that is valued at $3,048,803 or developing or acquiring

    July 30, 2014

  • City wooding door -ts.jpg City needs ‘room to grow’

     Fairmont city officials and staff boarded a city bus Tuesday to take tours of three potential sites for a new Municipal Building Complex.
    One of the sites was the Huntington Bank on Adams Street downtown, followed by the City Center building (also known as the old Post Office) and the Masonic Temple on Jefferson Street. While the Huntington Bank building currently houses both Huntington Bank and additional tenants, the City Center building and the Masonic Temple are both currently vacant. The city currently owns the Masonic Temple; if chosen, the other two properties would need to be purchased from their present owners.

    July 30, 2014 9 Photos

  • Fairmont man sentenced for sexual assault, burglaries

    A Fairmont man will serve three to 35 years in prison for sexually assaulting a juvenile and for nighttime burglaries.
    Matthew Allen Martin, 26, of Fairmont, entered a plea agreement with the state Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl and two counts of burglary.

    July 30, 2014

  • FGH sales proceedings move forward

    Fairmont General Hospital’s sales proceedings are moving forward with the approval of Alecto Healthcare Services Fairmont LLC’s Certificate of Need by the West Virginia Healthcare Authority July 21.

    July 29, 2014

Featured Ads
TWV Video Highlights
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads