Sonya Bosier said she continues to agonize over how the senseless death of her son Thomas Horvath happened four years ago.
In a victim's impact statement Monday, Bosier told Jacovan Bush that he would never understand the profound, life-long impact her son's death left with their family. It was horrible to see her son's injuries to his head and the "cruelty of watching her other children experience the pain of losing their brother."
Kayla Bosier, 19, Horvath's sister, said in a statement that her brother was her hero and his death left a hole in her heart that can never be filled.
"Tom's death will never leave me," Kayla Bosier said tearing up. "He was the greatest brother in the world. I'm 19, his age when he died, and I can't imagine dying right now."
Bush, 24, of Fairfax, who successfully appealed a 2008 conviction for first-degree murder, pleaded guilty Monday to the amended and substituted charges of voluntary manslaughter, intimidation with a dangerous weapon and going armed with intent in connection with Horvath's death. Horvath, 19, was shot in the abdomen and head on April 15, 2008 and died the next day.
Bush admitted to shooting Horvath during a fist fight in the Raintree Apartments' parking lot that night between Bush's friends and Horvath's friends. He also admitted to bringing a gun and firing into the crowd that night. He threatened Horvath and he intended for one of the shots to hit Horvath.
As part of the plea agreement, the two 10-year sentences and the one five-year sentence will run consecutively for a total of 25 years in prison.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Fae Hoover-Grinde said Bush would have to serve a minimum of 10 years before being eligible for parole on count one and two according to Iowa law, because those charges involve use of a weapon. Bush also will have to pay a $1,000 fine, $32,500 to the Iowa Crime Victim Compensation Program and $150,000 to Horvath's estate.
Bush has been in jail since April 2008, and he will get credit for time served, so it will likely speed up his eligibility for parole.
Bush declined comment during the sentencing.
Other members of Horvath's family in emotional victim impact statements said they were still grieving over the loss of their loving, selfless and kind son and brother, and some expressed contempt for Bush.
Theresa Chandler, Horvath's girlfriend, said her life is forever changed because her "Superman" is no longer with her and they never got to have a life they planned by getting married and having two children.
"I lost my boyfriend and my best friend," Chandler said tearfully. "I miss him every day. Part of me is gone forever because Jacovan took him."
David Thronson, Horvath's brother, asked Bush if he cared that he took someone's life. He said it angered him that Bush wasn't remorseful.
Bush was convicted by a jury for first-degree murder in November 2008 but he was granted an appeal last year, based on inadmissible evidence and granted a new trial. The prosecution called three witnesses during the trial who identified Bush as the shooter in statements to police after the incident, but then recanted those statements prior to trial.
Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden in explaining the amended charges and why plea deal was offered said the state would be prohibited from calling those material witnesses in the new trial, which would likely hurt its case because those witnesses identified Bush as the shooter.Vander Sanden said the plea agreement was offered after talking with Horvath's family and explaining the risks involved in having a second trial.