SPOKANE, Wash. – The man acquitted of murder charges stemming from a shooting in 2015 in the lower South Hill area said Thursday he was relieved by the verdict.
Edward Bushnell was found not guilty on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter on Thursday. Bushnell claimed he was using self-defense when he shot and killed William Poindexter after the two got into a fight when Bushnell intervened after seeing Poindexter assault his girlfriend.
Jurors deliberated for nearly three days before deciding Bushnell was not guilty of killing Poindexter. Bushnell had been walking northbound on 5th and Altamont in July 2015 when he came across Poindexter assaulting his girlfriend. The two fought and then stopped. It was then, authorities said, Bushnell retrieved a gun and shot Poindexter twice in the back.
After the judge read the jury’s not guilty verdict, Bushnell’s family erupted in tears and almost started clapping in court after hearing he was acquitted. Bushnell himself also broke down and embraced his attorneys.
Outside of the courtroom, Bushnell’s father, Stephen, said it was the verdict they had been praying for.
“It’s been hell, and it’s been terrible the waiting and wondering and then not knowing,” he said, “not knowing is the worst part.”
Bushnell himself took a big sigh before describing his emotions.
“Relieved,” he said, “I’m just so thankful to everyone who showed me support. My dad, you guys.”
Even with the great relief of Thursday’s verdict, everyone involved said they never lost sight of the fact that Poindexter lost his life that day.
“He’s always been concerned about killing somebody,” Bushnell’s attorney, Rob Cossey said. “That has always been a part of our conversations is that someone died, that he killed somebody, that did not ever make him feel comfortable.”
Cossey said Bushnell was always concerned about that and the family of Poindexter. Bushnell’s father said they too were sorry for the family who lost their son.
“It’s an ugly thing that happened, it’s terribly ugly, no one ever wanted anybody to die, but it happened,” he said.
Bushnell also thanked the jury for not jumping to conclusions about what kind of person he is.
“I would say thank you for seeing who I am and not assuming that what people say is automatically right,” he said.
Cossey echoed those sentiments.
“Eddie is an outstanding young man. There is no question about it. He’s served our country, he has done everything right in his life,” he said.
“He thought he was doing the right thing, and I think he was doing the right thing.”
Jurors also decided that Bushnell should be reimbursed for the costs he incurred because of this case. Per Washington state law, jurors needed to determine if Bushnell's use of force was reasonable in order for him to be eligible to be reimbursed for legal fees and loss of time.