More charges for Bushey and Lewis

Juneau County Times/May 31, 2008

Additional charges of being a party to the crime of hiding a corpse and two counts of misdemeanor theft have been filed against Alan Bushey and Tammy Lewis, according to an amended criminal complaint filed Thursday.

In early May, Bushey and Lewis were charged with two counts of causing mental harm to a child. Lewis had a court appearance Tuesday, where a bond modification request was denied. She is scheduled for a competency hearing June 16.

The 12-year-old boy who lived in a Necedah residence with his mother (Lewis) and sister, said he was told the smell of 90-year-old Alvina Magdelina Middlesworth's decomposing body was caused by his unbelief that she would come back to life.

The child testified Thursday morning during a preliminary hearing for Bushey, 58, who allegedly told Lewis, to leave Middlesworth's body on the toilet and pray for her to come back to life.

On March 4, the boy said he was doing dishes in their home on Shrine Road in the Town of Necedah when Middlesworth, who he called "Grandma Alvina," died. He said he walked into the bathroom and saw Middlesworth's body on the toilet.

"Mom called Bishop (Bushey) and he told us to pray and do what we were told," the boy said.

He said their family prayed the rosary and then talked to Bushey on the telephone before they went to bed.

"I talked to the Bishop because I was worried Grandma was dead," the boy said. "He (Bushey) said, 'Do you believe God can do anything?' I said yes and was told to pray and leave it in God's hands."

Before the door to the bathroom was closed on the fourth day, the 12-year-old said he was scared when he saw Middlesworth on the toilet because he felt they were doing something wrong.

While examined in court by Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth, the boy said he would be punished and scolded, because of his unbelief that Middlesworth would come back to the family.

One day, after Middlesworth had died, the boy said his mom paddled him, with a wooden paddle, because his unbelief caused the smell of Middlesworth's decomposing body.

The child said he was then sprayed with holy water, but his mom could still smell the odor, so he was paddled approximately 20 times. The boy said it left bruising on his buttocks.

The child said he brought up his concern about unbelief during confession with Bushey.

He said, "I was bothered by my unbelief ... I didn't like getting paddled."

During cross examination by Bushey's attorney Thomas Steinman, the boy told the court that at first he did not believe, but after a while he thought by praying and being obedient, Middlesworth would be brought back to life.While testifying, the boy said Bushey told their family God took Middlesworth because "we had things we had to work on before she could come back."

He said their family was told to pray for her to come back and to obey their superiors.

"But Grandma Alvina did not come back to life," the boy said.

After the boy testified in court for approximately an hour and a half, Juneau County Circuit Court Judge John Roemer adjourned the preliminary hearing due to other hearings scheduled in the afternoon.

The hearing will resume June 10 in Juneau County Circuit Court.

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