When Edward “Bud” Fisher of Brush Prairie didn’t respond to several voice messages left on his phone in early September 2011, his sister, Mary Jane Newman, knew something was amiss.
“His telephone was his lifeline, his connection to his business, his connection to everything, and he always answered,” Newman testified Tuesday in Clark County Superior Court.
His son, Troy Fisher, 43, who was staying at his father’s home at the time, told Newman that Bud Fisher had reunited with an ex-girlfriend and ran off with her on a cruise ship bound for Germany. The son said Bud had left him in charge of Bud’s forklift repair business and of selling Bud’s house, Newman said.
“Basically, he turned it over to him (Troy Fisher), which I did not believe,” Newman said.
In fact, Clark County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Camara Banfield said, Troy Fisher had shot his father, then 67, in the head and back and hidden the body. His trial on first-degree murder charges began Tuesday.
Clark County sheriff’s detectives questioned Troy Fisher on Sept. 19, 2011, after seeing Fisher remove carpet from his father’s house and serving a search warrant on the residence.
“Fisher began the story with his father going on a trip to Germany and ended the story with how he shot his father twice,” Banfield said Tuesday in an opening statement. “He said he didn’t know why he did.”
Troy Fisher, who is defending himself in his trial, did not give an opening statement Tuesday.
His mother, Joan Fisher, said he fired two court-appointed attorneys because he felt they weren’t listening to him or representing his interests. The court appointed Bob Yoseph to serve as Fisher’s standby attorney, whose role is to answer questions from a defendant.
Troy Fisher allegedly confessed during an interrogation by investigators that he shot his father twice during a heated fight at their Brush Prairie home on Aug. 7, 2011. He said the shot to his father’s head was accidental; the shot to his back was on purpose, Banfield said. He also claimed that he burned his father’s body in a burn pile on the property at 20808 N.E. 172nd St., according to court documents. The remains have not been recovered.
However, he pleaded not guilty to the crime and has maintained that position ever since.
Yoseph said Troy Fisher has not shared his defense argument. As an inmate in custody, Troy Fisher is not permitted to speak with reporters inside the courtroom.
The defendant already ruled out pursuing a self-defense or accident defense. So far, he also has no alibi and raised no issues with his sanity or competency.
Bud Fisher’s daughter, Tina Emerson-Hoffman of Lynnwood, testified Tuesday that her father was concerned about losing money in his business because of performance of some of his employees, which included Troy Fisher.
Bud Fisher’s friend, Bill Briseno, said Troy Fisher was living at his father’s house without paying rent.
“It was another sour note in Bud’s life,” Briseno said. “He wanted to help, but he didn’t think Troy was doing anything to help himself.”
He said the father and son also had an ongoing dispute over whether to modernize the forklift repair business with the addition of computers. Bud Fisher was not comfortable with technology; Troy Fisher was.
According to Banfield, Troy Fisher withdrew thousands of dollars from Bud Fisher’s bank account after his father’s death.
Clark County sheriff’s Detective Kevin Harper said he found a copy of an Aug. 8, 2011, balance inquiry into Bud Fisher’s checking account among Troy Fisher’s belongings. He said he also found receipts, dated at different times in August 2011, for food and electronics purchases.
Jury selection began Monday, and a pool of 59 prospective jurors was whittled down to about 40. But Fisher opted to skip a jury trial on Tuesday and left judgment to Superior Court Judge Barbara Johnson in what is known as a bench trial. Yoseph said Troy Fisher did not seek his advice before making the decision.
Judge Johnson then excused all of the jurors.
The trial resumes Wednesday.