Gregory Bush, the racist murderer of two Black shoppers at a Kentucky Kroger store last month, was indicted Thursday on federal hate crime charges.
Bush, 51, was charged with six counts, including two counts of a hate crime, resulting in death, one count of a hate crime with attempt to kill, and three federal firearms offenses. The indictment carries a possible death sentence, however the Justice Department will likely determine that a later date. He had been held on murder charges in Jefferson County, Ky., and pleaded not guilty.
It isn’t likely that his conviction would result in the death penalty. Only one person has ever been sentenced to death for hate crimes under federal law — white supremacist Dylann Roof, who killed nine people in a historically Black church in Charleston, S.C.
The indictment became based on a hate crime as Bush murdered the man and the woman because of their “actual and perceived race and color.”
A previous attempt to murder other Black people was at a church. Surveillance video showed Bush first went to a historically Black church about 15 miles east of Louisville before leaving and heading to a nearby Kroger grocery store.
Bush bypassed dozens of white shoppers before stopping and shooting Maurice Stallard, a 69-year-old retiree, in the back of the head. After killing Stallard, Bush walked outside and shot Vickie Lee Jones, a 67-year-old Black woman, in the back of the head as well. He fled after a shootout with another customer and was later arrested.
Russell Coleman, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, released a statement, saying: “There is no place for hate-fueled violence in our community or Commonwealth.”
Matthew G. Whitaker, who is acting attorney general, said in a statement announcing the federal charges: “We cannot and will not tolerate violence motivated by racism. We will bring the full force of the law against these and any other alleged hate crimes against fellow Americans of any race.”
Bush is being held on a $5 million bond.
Reader Question: If Bush is found guilty of the hate crimes, should he be sentenced to death