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July 8, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Ex-boyfriend charged in January strangling of Kirkland woman

The ex-boyfriend of a 28-year-old Kirkland mother who was found strangled in January was charged today with second-degree murder.

Before the body of Amy Rene Hargrove was found Jan. 6 in her mother’s Kirkland home, she had taken out a protection order pointing police to her ex-boyfriend in the event anything happened to her. “A piece of paper isn’t going to save my life when he finally gets me,” she wrote in the court document, “but at least you will know who killed me.”

The former boyfriend, Burrell M. Cushman, 28, was interviewed by detectives immediately after Hargrove’s slaying. Kirkland police said Cushman was considered a person of interest, but the investigation continued for months.

Kirkland police had previously said investigators were frustrated with the length of time it took to make an arrest, but that certain elements of their probe could not be rushed.

Police spokesman Mike Murray said detectives had to eliminate other potential suspects as well as wait for the results of crime lab tests before they could submit the completed investigation to King County prosecutors.

“It’s frustrating,” said Murray a few weeks after Hargrove’s slaying. “We hear he’s running around saying the police got nothing on him.”

Charging documents indicate that Cushman’s DNA was found underneath Hargrove’s fingernails. Investigators also determined that Hargrove had not used her phone or accessed social media after Cushman admitted seeing her on the afternoon on Jan. 5.

Hargrove, a mother of four, had moved back into her childhood home because she was afraid of Cushman, her friends said.

In a 2012 petition for a King County Superior Court protection order, Hargrove said Cushman terrorized and assaulted her on a regular basis, beating her while she was pregnant with his child, raping her at gunpoint and forcing her to have sex with one of his relatives.

On other occasions, she wrote, he choked her, fractured her eye socket, injured her cats, broke 13 cellphones and led police on a high-speed chase from Bellevue to Lynnwood while her children were in the car, she said in the court document.

Cushman was already in King County Jail in connection with an alleged domestic violence assault on a new girlfriend when he was charged with Hargrove’s murder, according to court documents.

According to documents filed in Seattle Municipal Court, Cushman was arrested after an alleged June 20 assault on his pregnant girlfriend.

Seattle police said the new girlfriend told officers Cushman became angry when she didn’t want to get up to take him for a job interview in Kirkland. She said Cushman punched her in the stomach and then pushed her into a wall and slammed her against it, according to court documents.

Court documents show that Cushman’s criminal record includes convictions for drug crimes and multiple domestic-violence-assault charges, including one that was filed when he was a juvenile and another in 2009.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: domestic violence, homicide, Kirkland

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