A Washington State Appeals Court on Tuesday affirmed an 88-year prison sentence for Brian Brush, the former Douglas County businessman who was convicted of murder after gunning down his girlfriend in Long Beach, Washington, nine years ago.
Brush was initially found guilty of first-degree murder in 2011 and sentenced the following year.
When Pacific County Superior Court Judge Michael Sullivan imposed the sentence of 1,060 months on Brush in 2011, he told Brush, “You deserve every single day.”
Brush’s standard sentence would have been between 25 to 29 years in prison, but the court imposed an “exceptional sentence” because of aggravated domestic violence offenses that were part of an ongoing pattern of psychological abuse over a prolonged period of time.
Brush had stalked and harassed his estranged girlfriend, 45-year-old Lisa Bonney, prior to shooting her four times with a shotgun in front of hundreds of witnesses.
Brush appealed his sentence, arguing that jury instructions provided an improper definition of “prolonged period of time.”
The case made its way to the state’s Supreme Court, which ruled in 2015 that the trial court had to sentence Brush within the standard sentencing guidelines or prove in a new trial that Brush had engaged in a prolonged pattern of abuse.
In 2016, Brush was convicted of aggravated domestic violence by the trial court, and given the same sentence from four years earlier.
Brush appealed his sentence again, leading to Tuesday’s decision.
On July 25, 2009, Brush took a hammer to Bonney’s car and later told police that she had assaulted him. Officers arrested Bonney and took her to jail. The following day, Brush recanted his statement and said the assault never occurred, according to court documents.
Over the next month, Brush appeared to be following Bonney. On Aug. 16, 2009, Bonney and her daughter went to the beach. As the pair walked along the edge of the road, they heard Brush’s truck accelerate behind them. Bonney’s daughter Elizabeth testified in court that she thought they would either be hit by the truck or some other altercation would ensure.
Elizabeth Bonney and her mother ran to a nearby parking lot and hid, both shaken up and crying.
When they returned to their home, Brush had left Lisa Bonney voicemails saying: “If you don’t answer I’m sure that your work would love to see naked pictures posted on the front door. Like, I’m sure these people would love to see it, if you’re not going to talk to me.”
On Sept. 11, 2009, Brush and Bonney had been discussing financial issues over text and agreed to meet in person. When they met at a crowded beach they began to argue, and as the argument escalated Brush grabbed a shotgun from his truck and shot Bonney four times from a close distance. The last shot was to her head at a distance of 3 to 4 feet.
Three police officers were walking nearby and witnessed the shooting.
That same year Brush was also facing an FBI investigation related to his financial dealings as the owner of North River Boats in Green, with which he is no longer associated.
Prior to becoming a business owner, he was a police officer in Medford.