Death penalty phase begins for gunman of deadly home invasion

Death penalty phase begins for gunman of deadly home invasion

CREATED Apr 1, 2011

Reporter: Steve Nuñez
Web Producer: Layla Tang

TUCSON (KGUN-TV) - The same jury that convicted Jason Bush in a deadly home invasion in Arivaca that killed a man and his 9-year-old daughter is now deciding his fate: life or death.

Bush, Shawna Forde, and Albert Gaxiola were all charged in the 2009 home invasion that left Ray Flores, 29, and his daughter Brisenia dead. Forde has already been convicted and sentenced to death for masterminding the attack . Gaxiola faces trial later this year.

Bush's lawyers did not offer a defense in his murder trial, opting instead to mount a defense in the penalty phase.

During opening statements, an emotional and heart-broken Gina Gonzales told jurors Bush knew exactly what he was doing when he shot and killed her husband and daughter.

"She looked him in the eye and begged him not to shoot her," Gonzales said of Brisenia as she choked on her words and wiped away here tears.  Gonzales was the lone survivor and the one witness who knows what really happened. 

"My daughter was shot point blank range. He nearly shot her face completely off," said Gonzales.

Gonzales wants the jury to sentence Bush to death.  But defense attorney Richard Parrish argued Bush's life should be spared because he suffers from mental illness and is disconnected from reality.

He paced in front of the jurors, and then turned to them and raised his voice to exclaiming, "And then they bring him here for you to kill him. For you to kill him."

Parrish then presented false certificates Bush created to fool everyone into thinking that he was a decorated soldier. He told the jurors this proved Bush was disconnected from reality. He then blamed the state for failing to properly medicate Bush each of the eleven times he served time in jail and prison.

Robert Crager, Ph.D., a Clinical Psychologist, then testified brain tests conducted on Bush indicate he suffers schizophrenia.

"This is a person who's brain doesn't quite work well. He's manifested psychiatric symptoms like schizophrenia," testified Crager.

But on cross examination, Rick Unklesbay. a Pima County Attorney Prosecutor, countered by pointing to other tests that directly contradicted Crago's testimony.  Unklesbay said results from one test done in 2008, just before the killings, concluded Bush did not suffer schizophrenia.  Crago said his brain test did not include interviewing Bush.

"I can't tell you was he at that moment manipulative, anti-social," admitted Crago.

That concluded the sentencing hearing for the day. The defense plans to bring in more mental illness experts to testify Friday.