A Nebraska man now living in Denver was sentenced last week for menacing a teenage girl in a suburban parking lot. Originally charged with a felony, the misdemeanor he was convicted on carried 3 years of probation and 75 hours of community service. What makes this story interesting, however, is the man’s background and some eerie similarities to this case and one nearly twenty years ago.
This man once lived on Nebraska’s death row. He’s now in Colorado living as a free man as his conviction for the murder of Kenyatta Bush in 1992 was overturned.
Acording to the Omaha World-Herald, the Nebraska case had some strange similarities to the menacing case here. In both cases a teenage girl was approached by a stranger in a parking lot. In both cases he had a knife out. In one case, however, a girl ended up raped, murdered, and dumped by the side of the road.
Kenyatta Bush’s murder was major news in 1992 and likely would’ve been considered a hate crime under today’s standards. A co-defendant in Bush’s case said that he and the other man chose her because she was African American.
That co-defendant, who implicated his partner and assisted the prosecution in his case would commit suicide in jail before he would have to testify. The Nebraska trial court moved forward and sentenced the initial suspect to the death penalty. That conviction would be overturned in 2001 on the grounds that the defendant didn’t have the opportunity to confront his accuser.
Fast forward to 2008 in a parking lot of suburban Denver—a 16 year old Hispanic girl was confronted by a man with a knife, a man who use a racial slur and told her he was going to stab her. He allegedly swung, nearly cutting her face before he ran off and drove away.
Now that man who was once sentenced to die at the hands of the state will be serving probation for this latest misdemeanor charge.
No one can say for certain what happened to Kenyatta Bush. But many people still believe this is the man who was responsible for her death. Even if he is completely innocent, it’s not likely that he will ever live down the ordeal in Nebraska so long ago.
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