Tennessee Appeals Court upholds life sentence in 1982 cold case conviction

Jul 07, 2021 at 10:38 am by Michelle Willard

The Tennessee Criminal Court of Appeals upheld the sentence of Gary Bush, who was convicted in 2008 of first-degree murder for his role in a murder-for-hire plot that left the husband of his girlfriend dead. 

In 2008, Gary Bush was convicted, along with his wife Candance Orrand Bush, of the 1982 first-degree murder of her husband Lynn Orrand. Following a joint jury trial, the couple was sentenced to life in prison.

Representing himself, Bush appealed the sentence, arguing that he was sentenced under the wrong sentencing guidelines, not the ones that were in effect when the murder occurred. 

"He argued that he was statutorily entitled to be sentenced to a lesser punishment under the 1982 Act and that his sentence under the 1989 Act constituted an ex post facto punishment," Presiding Justice John Everett Williams wrote in the Appellate opinion.

The state countered that Rutherford County Judge Barry Tidwell was correct when he ruled on a post-conviction release motion that Bush "would have been sentenced to life imprisonment under either Act, and ... that the Defendant failed to show how his sentence was illegal, and that he failed to present a colorable claim for relief. The trial court summarily dismissed the Defendant’s motion without a hearing."

The Tennessee Criminal Court of Appeals agreed and upheld Bush's sentence. Following this ruling, Bush will be eligible for release from prison in 2032. He will be 87 years old.

Both the Bushes have previously filed requests for post-conviction relief, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel from their defense attorneys in their 2008 trial. Those claims were also denied.


The murder of Lynn Orrand

The victim, Lynn Orrand, was hunting Jan. 16, 1989, on his in-laws' property off Halls Hill Pike. According to news reports at the time, the 32-year-old was shot in the back with a deer slug from about 8 yards. Two shot s had been fired at Orrand, with one glancing off a rock and striking him in the back. Both Orrand and his attacker left tracks in the snow.

At the time, investigators believed the death could have been accidental, because Orrand was hunting out of season and dressed similarly to a game warden. But Orrand had been assaulted in his driveway about two months prior by a crow bar-wielding assailant. 

The case remained cold until 2007 when former Rutherford County Sheriff's detectives Mark Di Nardo and Jim Tramel reopened the investigation and found information that Orrand's brother-in-law Kevin Patterson was involved.

A 2008 jury trail found that Orrand's widow, Candance Bush, and her second husband, Gary Bush, had hired Patterson to kill Orrand. 

During his plea for a charge of second-degree murder, Patterson, who was 17 at the time of the murder, admitted to killing Orrand in exchange for his sister and Gary Bush paying him $5,000 and a place for him, his new wife and new-born daughter to live. However, he said he never received the money and only lived with his sister for a few weeks before she kicked him and his family out. 

In 2018, Patterson was paroled after serving nine years of his 25-year sentence.

Sections: Crime & Safety