Troy Fisher of Brush Prairie was convicted Tuesday of the murder of his father, Edward “Bud” Fisher.
Fisher, 43, had opted to serve as his own attorney, defending himself against charges that he killed his father in August 2011 and then stole thousands of dollars from the victim’s two bank accounts. The body of Bud Fisher has never been found.
Clark County Superior Court Judge Barbara Johnson handed down the verdict Tuesday afternoon after deliberating for about 24 hours.
Fisher sat with his head in his hands during the verdict but showed no other reaction, even as he was led away to jail in handcuffs and shackles.
His sister, Terrie Hasan, crumbled in her seat in the public gallery, weeping, as Bud Fisher’s sister, Mary Jane Newman, and a court victim’s advocate tried to console her. Hasan said her emotions were a mixture of relief that justice had been done for her dad and sorrow over her brother’s actions.
“He just destroyed our whole family,” Hasan said.
Johnson found Fisher guilty of first-degree murder with a firearm enhancement, because he shot his father twice, and that he showed a lack of remorse, which is an aggravating circumstance in state law. The aggravating circumstance allows the judge to sentence Fisher to an amount of time greater than the state standard range of 20 years to nearly 27 years. The firearm enhancement adds a mandatory five years to that sentence.
Sentencing has not been yet been scheduled to allow Fisher time to consider whether he would like an attorney to help him through the punishment phase.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Camara Banfield also had alleged other aggravating circumstances, including that Bud Fisher was a vulnerable adult because a recent leg injury had impaired his mobility and that Troy Fisher committed the murder while in a position of trust because he was caring for his father. But Johnson said she did not find sufficient evidence to prove either assertion.
Hasan said in the wake of her brother’s conviction, the family’s first priority is to obtain a death certificate for her father.
When Bud Fisher was killed on Aug. 7, 2011, Troy Fisher was living at his Brush Prairie home.
Witnesses revealed that tensions were high between the father and son.
A neighbor testified that Troy Fisher had said he was so frustrated with his father that he might “cap him,” which the neighbor took as a joke at the time.
A friend, who had helped Bud and Troy Fisher with a siding project at their home on Aug. 6, 2011, said Troy Fisher called his father derogatory names, and that the father and son clashed over how to do the siding.
In a taped confession, Troy Fisher said he shot his father twice, once in the head and again in the back, during an argument about the siding project. He said he then cremated his father’s body in a trash pile in their backyard. An expert witness testified that wouldn’t have been possible in the relatively low heat of an open fire. There also was no trace of human remains on the property.
Banfield said Fisher likely obtained his dad’s ATM PIN numbers by force during that argument. Less than two hours after Bud Fisher last used his bank card and was presumably dead, Troy Fisher accessed his account and withdrew the daily maximum, according to Columbia Credit Union. Between then and his arrest on Sept. 19, 2011, he withdrew more than $10,000 from his dad’s two accounts and bought gifts for himself and his three children, among other items.
He told Newman that his father had run off with an old flame to Germany. Family members said they were immediately suspicious because that would have been out of character for Bud Fisher and because Bud Fisher was caretaker for his elderly mother.
Investigators found missing flooring, including jagged holes cut out of the carpet, at the home. Troy Fisher’s confession led investigators to the missing carpet in a thicket in Amboy. It was covered with Bud Fisher’s blood, according to an expert witness.
“This … provides strong evidence of death by violence,” Johnson said.
Fisher said he chose to represent himself in his trial because he was dissatisfied with the performance of his two previous court-appointed attorneys. A third attorney was then appointed to answer Fisher’s procedural questions.
During jury selection, Fisher had misgivings and asked for a bench trial, where the judge determines guilt or innocence.
Fisher’s standby attorney, Bob Yoseph, made a motion Monday asserting that Fisher was incompetent to defend himself. He asked the judge to appoint him as Fisher’s defense attorney and to give him at least two months to prepare a defense. Fisher objected, and Johnson allowed him to go forward with his defense.
Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Courts; http://facebook.com/ColTrends; firstname.lastname@example.org.