COLEMAN, Texas - A jury found Lanny Bush guilty of capital murder Friday in the death of Brownwood woman Michele Reiter.
Bush, 54, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
According to court documents, Bush admitted to setting up a fake Facebook account to communicate with Reiter – with the intention to harm her – before her death.
Her vehicle was found abandoned at a sports complex in Brownwood. Her body was found a couple of weeks later in a shallow grave in Coleman County. This all took place in September of 2012.
Court began on Friday at 10 a.m. with closing arguments.
Bush's defense attorney, Perry Sims, argued that there was a lack of biological evidence to link Bush to the crime because law enforcers were not diligent enough to test evidence.
"It was not a search for what happened. If so, they would have tested everything," said Sims. "They just pointed their fingers to Bush. The results were not what they wanted to hear so they stopped."
Sims added that officers claimed Bush wasn't helpful during the investigation, but Bush aided them by admitting to creating Rocky Switzer's Facebook profile.
In the state's closing argument, District Attorney Micheal Murray recapped the evidence that was presented to the jury. He said there was enough technological evidence to prove Bush was responsible for Reiter's death.
He mentioned how the cell phones were traced to Reiter's burial site, and how investigators found searches, such as "how to drug someone", "knockout drugs", "where the heart and lungs are in a human body" and "how to get over a breakup", on Bush's computer.
He advised the jury to remember how important motive is in this case.
The jury took about 2 hours to deliberate. After the verdict was read around 2:20 p.m., Reiter's brother took the witness stand to give a victim impact statement. He said to Bush, "I sat here all week looking at the back of your head. I waited to make eye contact with you, but you wouldn't look me or my family in the eye because you know what you did. I miss my sister every day. I will never forgive you for what you did to us and her kids."
As Bush walked to the Coleman County Jail, he told the media, "The jury spoke. It wasn't right but it spoke...I'm innocent. If they had done their job, they'd had found the right guy."
Reiter's friend, Dennise Worrell, said she is glad to have some closure.
"When we heard the verdict, it was so surreal but it was such a relief. Just knowing that he can never hurt anyone again...nobody else's family or friends is going to ever have to go through this again...that's the blessing in it all," said Worrell. "We can never bring Michele back. Her kids will have to grow up without her. Her grandkids will be born without her...you couldn't ask for a more loyal friend."
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