Cushman charged with murder of Kirkland resident, bail sent at $1.5 million

Amy Hargrove was found murdered in her mother
Amy Hargrove was found murdered in her mother's Kirkland home in January.
— image credit: Reporter file photo

The former boyfriend of 28-year-old Kirkland resident Amy Hargrove has been charged with her murder by the King County Prosecutor's Office.

Burrell Michael Cushman, has been charged with second degree murder for allegedly strangling Hargrove to death in her mother's home in January. Cushman was recently arrested for allegedly assaulting his pregnant girlfriend in Seattle. Bail for Cushman has been set ay $1.5 million. His arraignment is scheduled for July 22 at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 1201 at the King County Courthouse.

Hargrove's body was found by her mother, who reported it to police, according to a Kirkland Police Department report. During the initial investigation Hargrove's mother stated that one of Hargrove's children was missing from the residence and last known to be under Cushman's mother's care. During the initial investigation, there were no signs of a forced entry or signs of a struggle.

After detectives arrived, Cushman's mother also came to the resident in her vehicle with Hargrove's child in the car. Cushman's mother told officers that she had taken the child several days before the murder with Hargrove's permission while visiting relatives in Oregon.

Cushman's mother allegedly told police she and her son had been estranged from Hargrove until October 2013, at which time she claims Hargrove allowed her to see the child. Cushman's mother also allegedly told police that her son had started seeing Hargrove sometime afterwards. While away, Cushman's mother claims she received a call from her son on Jan. 5, the day before Hargrove was murdered. During the phone call he allegedly told her that he had an argument with Hargrove and said she had been drinking. He allegedly told her repeatedly that he "had a bad feeling about tonight," but did not elaborate on what he meant.

When questioned by police, Cushman denied assaulting or killing her. He admitted he had resumed his relationship with Hargrove and that he had been with her Jan. 4-5, but claimed to have left the resident after an argument. Cushman was arrested for admitting he had violated the protection order.

An autopsy on Hargrove's body estimated her death to have occurred on Jan. 5 within the timeframe when Cushman called his mother. Investigations concluded that Cushman was the last known person to have seen Hargrove alive. Her cell phone, Facebook account and computer showed no sign of activity after Cushman allegedly left the residence, the report states.

Phone records obtained by investigations revealed that Hargrove feared for her life due to her relationship with Cushman, according to the police report. She allegedly told Cushman's mother on the phone "I'm scared that I'm not going to live through this one, he'll kill me" and that "I cannot stand up for myself or get away from him now without a major disaster."

In her prior petition to the court for a protection order, Hargrove wrote that "a piece of paper isn't going to save my life when he finally gets me but at least you will know who killed me."

Before the murder, Hargrove had filed a protection order against Cushman. In the 2012 petition, Hargrove claimed he had abused her for three years, including during her pregnancy, as well as raping multiples times and forcing her to have sex with one of his family members.

Previously, Hargrove had lost custody of her two children, blaming Cushman for having them in his car during a high-speed police chase in 2010.

Hargrove had a long history of abusive relationships, according to a 2004 declaration by Hargrove’s mother, which was written in a custody battle. In an attempt to gain custody of Hargrove’s oldest child, her mother said that Hargrove had a troubled past, which included a young pregnancy, drug abuse, emotional issues and a boyfriend who pleaded guilty to assaulting Hargrove.

Cushman was arrested in June after Seattle police were contacted about a possible domestic violence incident. Cushman and his pregnant girlfriend live in a home in Seattle on the same block where search warrants were served in Hargrove's murder.

Cushman was eventually charged in the city of Seattle with two counts of assault. His pre-trail date is schedule for July 14 in that case, with bail set at $100,000.

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