Crime

Suspect in Sierra Bush murder spent 2 decades in Idaho, federal prisons

2 images of Bruce A. Marchant, 10 years apart: At left, while he was in Idaho state prison in 2004. At right, while he was in the Ada County Jail in 2014 on charges that were later dropped.
2 images of Bruce A. Marchant, 10 years apart: At left, while he was in Idaho state prison in 2004. At right, while he was in the Ada County Jail in 2014 on charges that were later dropped.

Little information was available Thursday about how Bruce Allen Marchant was identified as the suspect in the rape and murder of Sierra Bush. But court and prison records reveal he served 20 years in Idaho prisons for a North Idaho armed robbery and assault on a police officer.

Marchant, now 61, was released from the Idaho Maximum Security Institution in the fall of 2008, and in 2014 was arrested in Ada County and charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery. Both charges were dropped in early 2015, and no details of that case were available Thursday evening.

When Marchant tried to reduce his prison sentences in 1989, the Idaho Court of Appeals ruled against him, saying his “behavior resulted from debilitating psychological disorders” and that he stopped using prescribed medication and resorted instead to heavy alcohol use.

In describing Marchant’s Coeur d’Alene crimes, the Idaho Court of Appeals reported that after the December 1986 robbery “Marchant, trapped by police in a cul-de sac, brandished the shotgun and fired in the direction of police.” He reportedly ignored repeated demands to surrender and was shot and wounded by police after he again threatened them with the shotgun.

The Spokane Chronicle reported that Marchant was shot three times during the Coeur d’Alene confrontation.

An appeals court document shows Marchant had committed several earlier offenses, including arson and an armed robbery for which he was still on parole when the 1986 robbery and assault happened.

Marchant began concurrent sentences for the robbery and assault in 1987, but was released in 1992, apparently on parole. He had a parole violation in late 1994 and then reportedly went to federal prison in 1996, but no details about the federal incarceration were available Tuesday.

In 1999, Marchant was back in Idaho Department of Correction custody, where he stayed in several different facilities until he completed his 20-year concurrent sentences Sept. 26, 2008, IDOC spokesman Jeff Ray said.

Kristin Rodine: 208-377-6447

Holly Anderson contributed.

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