A man accused of strangling his ex-girlfriend in Kirkland in January pleaded not guilty this morning to second-degree murder, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Burrell M. Cushman, 28, is being held in the King County Jail in lieu of $1.5 million bail. A case-setting hearing is scheduled for Aug. 4.
Cushman was charged on July 8 with the murder of Amy Rene Hargrove, whose body was found Jan. 6 in her Kirkland home. Cushman was already in jail in connection with an unrelated domestic-violence charge for allegedly assaulting a new girlfriend.
Kirkland police long acknowledged Cushman was a person of interest in the slaying, but they said they had to eliminate other potential suspects and await the results of crime-lab tests.
In charging documents, police and prosecutors say the state crime lab found Cushman’s DNA underneath Hargrove’s fingernails. In addition, electronic records revealed that Hargrove had not accessed her phone or social media since Cushman reported last seeing her alive Jan. 5, court documents allege.
Hargrove, who also went by the name Amy Gang, had moved into a mother-in-law unit on her mother’s property because she was afraid of Cushman, her friends said. She had taken out a protection order against Cushman, claiming he had 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.