Man convicted in estranged wife's murder sentenced to death by judge

Sean Bush found guilty of killing Nicole Bush in her home

Sean Bush
Sean Bush

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A man was sentenced to death by a judge Thursday in St. Augustine, the State Attorney's Office said.

Sean Bush, 48, was previously convicted at trial of first-degree murder with a firearm and burglary of a dwelling with a person assaulted while armed with a firearm for the death of Nicole Bush.

The State Attorney's Office said a St. John's County jury also recommended a death sentence. It's the first unanimous death penalty verdict in the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court under the new sentencing rules.

Sean Bush was found guilty of killing Nicole Bush in her Julington Creek home in 2011. She had been shot in the head, stabbed and beaten with a baseball bat. She could not identify her assailant before she died, but investigators found Sean Bush's DNA on the bat handle.

Shortly after the murder, detectives learned that Bush called two insurance companies to ask about two policies for which he was the beneficiary.

According to the State Attorney's Office, the jury found five aggravating factors applied to Sean Bush in the commission of his crimes and qualified him for the death penalty:

1) Defendant convicted of a prior violent felony for attempting to kill his ex-wife via electrocution

2) Defendant committed homicide during commission of burglary

3) Defendant committed the homicide for financial gain

4) The crime was heinous, atrocious and cruel

5) The crime was cold, calculated and premeditated

"The death penalty is reserved for the worst of the worst," State Attorney RJ Larizza said. "The exceptionally deranged and brutal murder committed by Sean Bush absolutely fits within this category. A sentence of death was the only reasonable and appropriate punishment for this crime."

The State Attorney's Office said Sean Bush will be remanded to the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections.