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Bush Trial: Multiple items of evidence presented as testimony continues

By Betty Nguyen, bnguyen@ktxs.com
Published On: Apr 09 2014 07:50:28 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 10 2014 08:54:51 AM CDT
COLEMAN, Texas -

Evidence seized from alleged murderer Lanny Bush's vehicle during the time of the investigation was presented to the jury on Wednesday.

Bush, 54, is charged with the murder of a Brownwood woman, Michele Reiter, in September of 2012. He is also charged with online impersonation for creating a phony Facebook profile.

Some of the items recovered from Bush's vehicle on Sept. 26, 2012, included a shovel, a 3x5 photo of Bush and Reiter, a belt from a blue robe, and handwritten notes with accounts and passwords.

There was a handwritten note attached to Bush's checkbook, which read, "What if I had left you alone? What would have happened?"

Investigators also found a receipt from Walmart, where Bush purchased a 134A refrigerant. According to District Attorney Micheal Murray, that can displace oxygen in the body, cause loss of consciousness and death by asphyxiation if ingested. 

Another receipt was for a purchase of ammunition from Sportsman's Center, which was made on Sept. 10,2012, the same day Reiter disappeared.

Texas Ranger Nick Hanna, who recovered the evidence and was on the witness stand for more than half of the day, said Bush was cooperative in the sense that he was willing to meet for an interview on Sept. 19, 2012. However, his behavior and attitude quickly shifted. 

"He seemed to have a dislike and distrust of law enforcement," Hanna said. "He seemed to inhibit rather than assist us in finding Reiter's body."

At one point during the interview, Bush indicated to officers that he was scared he was turning into a suspect.

Hanna said the inconsistencies in Bush's stories regarding his possession of Reiter's phone added to law enforcers' suspicions. First he told them that he threw the phone away. Then he said he took her phone. Phone records later indicated that there was a 3-minute conversation between Bush and Reiter at Gordon Wood Stadium. Her vehicle was later found in that area.

"When we confronted him on evidence of the phone, he would change his story numerous times," said Hanna. "It made no sense at all."

Bush admitted that he used Reiter's phone to text her friend, Dennise Worrell. 

"He texted her as an attempt to separate himself from the crime scene," said Hanna. 

First Assistant District Attorney Sam Moss said the jury also got to hear about Facebook conversations between Bush and Reiter. They also saw web searches from the defendant's computer and surveillance video of him buying ammunition.