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Murder trial of comic store owner set (UPDATED)

A Mesa comic book store owner charged with a November 2019 murder is now scheduled to go on trial this December.

Anthony Wayne Gushee’s trial was set for Oct. 22, 2020, in Maricopa County Superior Court, with pre-trial conferences scheduled for the week prior. Now the trial date is listed on the docket as Dec. 14, 2021, and should go into 2022. He faces charges of premeditated murder in the first degree, attempt to commit first-degree, premeditated murder, aggravated serious assault with physical injury and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Anthony Wayne Gushee
Anthony Wayne Gushee

The (now) 46-year-old was arrested late at night Nov. 11, 2019, at the address of Apache Comics & Toys, 9333 E. Apache Trail, after police responded to a shots-fired call at a Main Street motel earlier that day.

Police found Aaron James Miller, 28, dead at the scene and an unidentified woman with life-threatening gunshot wounds who needed surgery but, according to Mesa police, survived her injuries.

Gushee also faces charges of aggravated assault with serious physical injury and aggravated assault with use of a handgun, stemming from a Nov. 8, 2019, confrontation allegedly with a different man and woman in east Mesa. In this case a few days before the fatal Main Street motel shooting, a man was shot in the arm and upper body while speeding away in a pickup truck from two armed males.

According to police reports a female passenger, the shooting victim’s girlfriend, identified one of the attackers as Gushee and told police she knew him as a heroin dealer who gets young females high and has sex with them. She also told police she and her boyfriend took some associates to Gushee’s house about 1 1/2 months earlier and that those people stole comic books and toys from the residence.

Apache Comics closed its doors in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and later stated it had no plans to reopen. Messages to the store seeking comment went unanswered.

Originally published Aug. 29, 2020, this article was updated Oct. 20, 2021, with new trial schedule information.

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