Key witness to 2017 killing in Spokane contradicts taped statements to police

May 10, 2019

Summoned from prison to testify about his interactions with a man accused of gunning down a Spokane man in 2017, Christopher A. Burdick had several memory lapses on the witness stand Thursday when asked about statements he previously gave police about that shooting.

Burdick, who has a rap sheet dating back to when he was 18, spoke in low tones when he asked what he knew about the Jan. 24, 2017, fatal shooting of 31-year-old Brandon M. Bushy, whose partially frozen body was discovered on a sidewalk on East Crown Avenue not far from NorthTown Mall.

Darrell T. Tucker II, 33, is facing trial for first-degree murder in connection to Bushy’s killing. In opening statements on Tuesday, Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Kyle Treece said that Tucker killed Bushy as payback for a long-standing dispute.

According to court records, Bushy and Tucker had an altercation in 2008 after Bushy accused him of raping a 14-year-old girl who was a friend of Bushy’s. Then on Jan. 24, 2017, investigators allege that Tucker found Bushy walking alone after midnight and shot him.

On Thursday, Treece called Burdick, who has convictions for making a false statement in 2015, and money laundering and illegal possession of a firearm in 2014. He’s currently serving more than four years after he pleaded guilty in 2017 to rendering criminal assistance for selling the gun detectives believe that was used to kill Bushy.

Treece previously told the jury that Burdick had told investigators that Tucker requested a ride following the shooting. Tucker seemed agitated and later asked Burdick and his girlfriend, Heather McDaniel, to help retrieve the gun from behind a dumpster at a nearby apartment complex.

“Did you kill Brandon Bushy?” Treece asked. Burdick replied, “No.”

“Because it seems like there are some statements you made about Mr. Tucker (to police) that you are not willing to say today,” Treece said.

“I’m just trying to answer your questions,” Burdick said.

Burdick said that on the night of the shooting, Tucker had dropped him off and gave him heroin. Tucker then contacted him a couple hours later needing a ride. When Burdick finally responded, he said Tucker was agitated and threw up.

“He didn’t tell you he shot someone?” Treece asked. “No,” Burdick said.

“He just made the statement if the gun was pointed at me, the roles would have been reversed,” Burdick said.

“Do you recall telling detective (Corey) Turman that you remember Darrell Tucker saying he shot somebody?” Treece asked. “No.” Burdick said.

Treece asked: “Not on video? Not on audio?” Burdick replied: “No.”

Spokane Police tracked down a white Subaru owned by Tucker on January 30, 2017, before the driver sped away. That driver, who ditched the car and ran from officers, was Burdick.

He described how earlier he watched Tucker wipe down his gun before Burdick sold it for half a gram of heroin and $40.

Under questioning from Deputy Public Defender Kyle Zeller, Burdick said he later cleaned the entire interior of Tucker’s car.

Asked why he would do that, Burdick responded: “I prefer to know what is in my car when I’m driving it. I like clean cars.”

The convicted felon said at the time of the shooting he had active warrants for his arrest from the Washington Department of Corrections. He was living at his girlfriend’s home, where her parents also live. Burdick also said he set up a surveillance system.

“I was wanted by the DOC. I wanted to see whoever was coming to the house,” Burdick said. “I had been on the run for two months at that time.”

Treece then asked him why he would text Tucker that it was “safe to say the pistol had been disposed of. Have you seen the news?”

“Because,” Burdick said. “I had just seen the news about somebody had been killed a block from my house.”

The trial is expected to last into next week before Superior Court Judge Annette Plese.