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Man convicted of killing 2 at Kentucky store gets life term

December 16, 2020 GMT
FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, file photo, Gregory Bush is led into a courtroom for an arraignment on murder charges in Louisville, Ky. Bush, convicted of fatally shooting two Black shoppers at a Kentucky grocery store, was sentenced Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, to life in prison without parole. (AP Photo/Dylan Lovan, File)
FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, file photo, Gregory Bush is led into a courtroom for an arraignment on murder charges in Louisville, Ky. Bush, convicted of fatally shooting two Black shoppers at a Kentucky grocery store, was sentenced Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, to life in prison without parole. (AP Photo/Dylan Lovan, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A white man convicted of fatally shooting two Black shoppers at a Kentucky grocery store was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison.

Gregory Bush, 53, pleaded guilty but mentally ill in Jefferson Circuit Court to two counts of murder, criminal attempted murder and wanton endangerment in connection with the shooting at the Kroger in suburban Louisville in 2018, news outlets reported.

A judge sentenced him to two life terms to be served concurrently without the possibility of parole.

Pleading guilty but mentally ill means the Kentucky Department of Corrections must provide Bush with treatment and medication during his term, according to Jeff Cooke, a spokesman for the commonwealth’s attorney’s office.

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Under a plea agreement, Bush also was set to plead guilty to federal hate crime charges in February. Federal prosecutors alleged the shooting of Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vickie Jones, 67, was racially motivated, though Attorney General William Barr agreed not to seek the death penalty.

Police said Bush first stopped at a historically Black church nearby before heading with his handgun to the busy grocery store.

Bush then walked into the store, pulled a gun from his waist and shot a man in the back of the head, then kept shooting him multiple times, according to an arrest report. The report said Bush reholstered his gun, walked outside and killed a woman in the parking lot. Each victim died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Investigators said the two victims had never met Bush.

Angela Elleman, an attorney for Bush, released a statement arguing that on the day of the shooting, the defendant was suffering from schizophrenia and was not medicated.

“He acted out of his psychosis and his illness, while at the very same time his elderly parents were downtown seeking a mental inquest warrant to hospitalize him for everyone’s safety,” WDRB-TV reported, citing the statement.

Bush was initially found incompetent to stand trial in 2019 but was later deemed competent after undergoing weeks of treatment at the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center.