The head of San Benito County’s Probation Department today said the Cheryl Busch homicide case is “baffling” considering she had been complying fully with treatment and had paid all her fines and fees related to a March conviction for battery that led to nearly a month of incarceration at the county jail.
“I can tell you that she was complying (with probation),” said Brent Cardall, the county’s chief probation officer. “She paid her fines and fees in full. She was attending treatment. The other stuff we’re going to have to iron out and figure out.”
Busch, 39, has been accused of killing her 19-month-old daughter Wednesday at their home in the 2300 block of Shore Road by shooting her twice with a .357 Magnum.
She had been convicted in March of a misdemeanor battery charge – she pleaded guilty to assaulting her husband in November 2007 – which carried a maximum sentence of one year in county jail and $2,000 in fines. Judge Steven Sanders sentenced her to 31 days in jail and $650 in fines, according to court records, while it’s unclear why she served fewer than 31 days. She also received three years of probation and was ordered, by state law, to attend 52 weeks of domestic violence classes.
Busch was incarcerated for a day when arrested in November 2007 and again served time after her guilty plea from April 14 to May 8, according to jail personnel.
Cardall said he was unaware of any signs that may have pointed to the tragedy.
“If she hadn’t been attending classes, I’d be very concerned,” he said. “It’s baffling. She was attending classes – she paid her fines and fees. Mental health people try to figure it out their whole careers.”