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Rowan man paroled after serving murder sentence

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
A Rowan County man convicted of murder nearly 20 years ago has been released, says the N.C. Post Release Supervision and Parole Commission.
Ronald Sytoria Bush, 56, was convicted in 1990 in the stabbing death of Shelley Horn Hovis.
Commission Spokeswoman Patsy Joyner confirmed that Bush was paroled Aug. 15.
“He completed the MAP program,” she said.
The Mutual Agreement Parole Program is a scholastic and vocational program that includes a three-way agreement between the Parole Commission, the Division of Prisons and the offender.
Offenders who participate in the program must adhere to strict requirements.
According to Post reports at the time of the murder, Hovis and two other victims, Tandra Delores Woods and Allen Vinson Pruitt, were involved in an argument with Bush in a parking lot near South Clay Street.
Hovis was stabbed in the left shoulder and later died. Pruitt was stabbed in the back and was taken to a hospital where he underwent surgery and was released five days later. Woods suffered a minor stab wound to the hip.
Ronald Bush turned himself in nearly a week later to his brother, David Bush, who was a Rowan County Sheriff’s deputy at the time.
News accounts said David Bush picked his brother up at a hotel and escorted him to the police station.
The 1990 conviction was not Bush’s first brush with the law. He pleaded guilty in 1973, along with two other men, in the murder of a 46-year-old taxi driver in Granite Quarry. In that incident, Robert Corriher was shot eight times during a robbery attempt.
Bush was released from jail after serving nine years of a 25- to 30-year prison sentence, according to the N.C. Department of Correction Web site.
Bush was 21 at the time of the shooting.
In his 1990 statements to police, Bush told investigators that he and his girlfriend, Kris McCain, went with Hovis, Woods, Pruitt and a juvenile to a liquor house on South Clay Street early one morning.
Bush claimed McCain knocked on the door of the house, but didn’t get an answer, so they all left. He told investigators an argument that something started an argument among the group and someone struck him on the head.
Bush said he and Hovis argued, calling each other profane names. Hovis, Bush said, insulted his mother, who had died in a wreck involving a car and train, along with his sister and niece, a few months before the stabbings.
Pruitt testified that Bush threatened to kill all of them.
Then Sgt. Mark Wilhelm testified during a hearing that Bush did not remember anything until he awoke later in the woods at Kelsey-Scott Park.
Nearly six months after the June stabbings, Bush pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
The district attorney’s office reduced the charge from first-degree murder and dismissed a charge of assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill.
Hovis was a mother to three children. She was married to Richard Hovis.
The state’s current sentencing law eliminates parole for crimes committed after Oct. 1, 1994.
However, the Commission has the responsibility of paroling offenders who were sentenced under previous sentencing guidelines.
For more information about the N.C. Post Release Supervision and Parole Commission, call the commission at 919-716-3010.

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