A Kentucky man has received the life sentence for the double homicide of two Black shoppers at a grocery store, CNN reported. Gregory Bush pleaded guilty to killing Vickie Jones and Maurice Stallard on Tuesday (Dec. 15).
In October of 2018, Bush walked into the Jeffersontown Kroger and shot Maurice Stallard — who was getting school supplies with his nephew — in the back of the head, continuing to shoot him while he was on the floor. On his way out, he fatally shot Vickie Jones. He reportedly tried to visit a predominately Black church ahead of the shootings, but was unable to enter because the doors were locked.
According to Louisville Metro Public Defender Angela Elleman, Bush — who suffers from schizoaffective disorder — had not been treated on the day of the murders.
“On the day of this tragedy, Mr. Bush’s schizophrenia was not medicated, so he was tortured by voices that threatened to kill him and his family,” she told CNN. “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.”
Bush was sentenced to life without the possiblity of parole, but he will receive the death penalty, according to Attorney General William Barr. He pleaded guilty, but mentally ill to charges of murder, attempted murder, wanton endangerment and federal hate crime charges. As a result, he is required to receive medication for his illness while in jail.
“Vickie Jones and Maurice Stallard were senselessly murdered because of the color of their skin. Our entire community and commonwealth had suffered a loss because of racial enmity,” the Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine said in a statement.
The victims’ families are suing Kroger for permitting customers, like Bush, to enter the store with a weapon.