A Spokane jury on Thursday acquitted a man who shot and killed another man in East Central Spokane in 2015 in a case that boiled down to self-defense.
Edward Bushnell claimed he got into a fight with William Poindexter, 45, while attempting to stop him from beating his girlfriend. Bushnell shot Poindexter in the back twice, according to testimony.
Jurors rejected first-degree murder, second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter charges in the case.
The verdict touched off an emotional reaction in the courtroom where family members and friends of Bushnell showed up to support him.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Bushnell’s father, Stephen Bushnell. “I am totally overwhelmed. It was a long two years.”
Bushnell told police that he had been riding a skateboard near Altamont Street and Fifth Avenue the morning of July 21, 2015, when he heard a woman screaming, according to court records. He said that he then saw Poindexter assaulting a woman.
He said he tried to stop the assault and got into a fight with Poindexter. At one point, he said, he was hit hard in the face, court documents state.
As Poindexter and the woman walked away, Bushnell took a 9 mm Springfield Arms XD handgun from his backpack and shot Poindexter twice in the back, according to court documents. When asked by police what he was thinking, Bushnell allegedly said, “I couldn’t tell you. I guess protect myself and the girl.”
Bushnell is a former Army National Guard soldier who served in Iraq in 2008 and 2009.
He said his military training taught him to react, and that he believes strongly in standing up for others.
“I don’t think it is ever too costly to stick up for someone,” he said. “I just knew I wanted to protect her.”
Bushnell has a scar under his right eye that one of his attorneys said came from the fight with Poindexter.
He said the verdict was a relief, but that going from the incident through trial was “very intense.”
Stephen Bushnell said the family still agonizes over the loss of life. “I am so sorry for their loss,” he said of Poindexter’s family.
The Bushnell family raised $15,000 for a bail bond fee to have the defendant released from jail prior to the verdict.
They hired private defense attorney Rob Cossey.
Cossey said Bushnell and his father agreed to paint his house to cover part of the legal costs.
Washington law allows defendants to recoup their legal costs in an acquittal under self-defense.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dale Nagy left the court quickly after the verdict was announced. He did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Last week, jurors heard testimony from Poindexter’s girlfriend, who had a no-contact order against Poindexter stemming from a March 2015 domestic violence charge. She attempted to have the restraining order dismissed several times, but it was still in effect at the time of the shooting.
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