Oregon man advocates for his father's killer

Family of murdered man ready to forgive

KELSO, Wash. -- Turn on the TV and you’ll see them. Stories about murder, stories about cold cases, stories filled with unanswered questions.

Trevor Bushey knows all about those true crime stories. Many of those stories mirror his own. He said, “I would find myself being kind of drawn to those shows and seeing what they do to solve old cases.”

Trevor is a successful realtor in Southern Oregon. Twenty-two years ago, he was a young man who received a call he never expected.

“They said that my dad had been killed,” he said.

Bob Bushey, the man who had married Trevor’s mother when she was pregnant with him, the man who had treated him as his own, was gone — stabbed 53 times at his home in Kelso, Washington.

“They didn’t have any real solid leads,” said Trevor.

Bob Bushey’s story made headlines. The search for the killer consumed law enforcement. As the case played out in print, Trevor was left with memories of the man who had helped shape him.

“Myself and my younger brother would go and spend summers with him up in Prosser,” Trevor recalled. “And he had a house right on the Yakima River. And just spending summers there on the river with him and the rest of us kids — it was always a good time.”

For five, 10, 15, 20 years those memories were all Trevor had. Answers never came.

He said, “After a while, you just kind of begin to accept that you’ll never know what happened.”

Until he received another phone call out of the blue.

Twenty-two years after the crime, a man named Brandon David Wright had walked into a Utah police station and confessed. He was on his way to Kelso — and justice.

“You didn’t know anything about the person, the history, you know, anything about what had happened.” Trevor said. “It was like now you know who did it, but still everything was a mystery.”

It was a mystery Trevor was determined to solve with the help of a local district attorney. And so began a journey that still isn’t over.

“I think I had underestimated the situation a little bit. Driving up there, I found the closer I got, the more tense I was, the butterflies were fluttering in my stomach,” said Trevor. “I didn’t know what to expect. I was very nervous, but at the same time, I was driven to have answers.”

And answers would come. Brandon Wright wanted to tell his story as much as Trevor wanted to hear it. Trevor said, “His public defender was there and was explaining that anything you say can be held against you in court, that this can be considered on the record, and he said that he didn’t care. That he was responsible and he wanted to take responsibility and he didn’t care about the consequences.”

As the minutes passed, Brandon told the story of a young man who was in trouble with the law, taking drugs, and without direction.

“He came across my father’s shop and stayed a couple nights in there hiding out,” Trevor said. “Of course, it’s a shop so there’s no food. After a couple days of no food, broke into my father’s camp trailer and was stealing food and that’s when my father came home from work and discovered him there and the scuffle between the two began and my father was killed.”

Wright took off to Portland where he tried to commit suicide. Instead, he started a chain of events that would turn his life around. Eventually, he received a college degree, had a career and started a family.

That revelation led Trevor to his most important question.

“And I asked him, ‘Why did you turn yourself in?’”

Brandon replied it was because of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit, and his little boy. “His 3-year-old son had kind of also encouraged him, saying he wanted to see his dad be good again,” said Trevor.

And with that, Trevor had his answer. He wanted Wright to serve the minimum possible sentence. “His life is going to be changed regardless of how long he serves, but I didn’t want to diminish his chance of being a father — of somehow, someway being able to make a positive impact,” said Trevor.

While Wright had taken something precious from Trevor and his family, he had also given him something — a lesson no one can ever take away.

“If you’ve wronged somebody, ask for forgiveness," Trevor said. "And if somebody that’s wronged you asked you for forgiveness, forgive them.”

Editor's note: This story originally appeared on KOBI5.com.


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