Tuesday, September 20, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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1-Year Term Given For Killing At `Rave' Party

A 21-year-old Seattle man who killed his friend after ingesting heavy doses of drugs at a Pioneer Square "rave" party has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

King County Superior Court Judge James Noe yesterday ignored an agreed request from prosecutors and defense attorneys that Justin Bush serve an exceptionally low sentence of less than seven years.

Bush fatally shot Rafael Gonzalez, 20, outside a dance club Feb. 19. He pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder, and prosecutors agreed to request a sentence below the standard range in return.

Bush's drug use put his ability to form the intent to kill, a crucial element in proving murder, into question. He was under the influence of several drugs, mostly LSD.

But Noe said there was no compelling reason to be so lenient because Bush's ingestion of drugs was a voluntary act and he should be held accountable.

The standard range for second-degree murder with no prior convictions is 10 to 13 years.

Bush had no prior felony convictions.

Gonzalez's mother, Linda Busch, was so overcome that a friend had to read her statement, which called for the maximum sentence.

"This was every loving parent's worst nightmare. I was given no chance to say good-bye," Busch wrote. "The message to all who use drugs and choose to carry a gun needs to be that they are responsible for their actions," Busch said.

Bush apologized and said he killed Gonzalez while in a stupor.

"I was out of my mind on drugs . . . I'm truly sorry," Bush said in a tearful statement. "I wish I could give you more than an apology. I wish I could give you back Rafael, but I can't."

The shooting occurred in the early morning outside the Velvet Elvis Arts Lounge Theater in Pioneer Square where both Bush and Gonzalez were at a dance.

The two young men had smoked marijuana together earlier that night, prosecutors said. Witnesses said both men were in an alley behind the club when Bush re-entered brandishing a gun and said, "I just smoked him."

Bush acknowledged shooting Gonzalez but gave no reason. Gonzalez was studying to be an artist.

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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