Second Byron Bush trial again ends with hung jury

Byron Bush

Criminal proceedings against Beaumont resident Byron E. Bush, 37, accused of the attempted capital murder of two Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies, again resulted in a mistrial when jurors could not agree on a verdict Oct. 7 in Judge Larry Gist’s court.

Prosecutors in the case asserted that Bush knowingly fired upon two certified peace officers with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO), Lt. Chad Kolander and Deputy Marcus McLellan, during an incident at the Stone Hearst Apartments on East Lucas Drive in Beaumont on May 22, 2014.

In press releases following the shooting, JCSO indicated the officers were following up on a separate investigation at the apartment complex when Bush knocked on the door of the residence in which they were questioning another party, Thomas Stagg. Bush had reportedly been looking for Stagg, and Stagg feared Bush wished to cause harm to him or his family, said the deputies.

Deputies answered the door with their guns drawn and their badges displayed at their waists, but Bush and his attorney, Ryan Gertz, asserted Bush did not know the men were officers.

Bush testified Oct. 6 that when the door to Apt. 424 swung wide, all he saw “was the gun” Kolander was holding. He testified that he first thought it was an “angry homeowner” and turned to leave. He told the court when the two men gave chase, he thought he was being “jacked.” That’s when he turned and fired, he contended.

After days of testimony from witnesses, investigators and forensics experts, jurors still could not come to a unanimous conclusion. The recent decision is the second mistrial resulting from a hung jury in this case. 

Prosecutors have not said whether they will try again.