Fayette County

Mother pleads guilty to reckless homicide in infant's death

Courtney Diane Bishop, charged in the 2007 death of her 1-month-old son, pleaded guilty Thursday to reckless homicide.

Bishop had been set to go on trial Monday in Fayette Circuit Court on charges of murder and criminal abuse in the death of Caleb Eli Bishop, who was born Jan. 21, 2007, and died Feb. 25, 2007.

Bishop had been a music teacher at Christ the King School at the time of her arrest.

At a hearing earlier this month, one of Courtney Bishop's attorneys had indicated the defense would argue at trial that her ex-husband, Daniel Bishop, was responsible for the baby's death.

But, in an interview Thursday after Courtney Bishop's guilty plea, Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson said: "Based on the evidence, we were and are convinced that Courtney Bishop caused the death of her son Caleb. Period. Furthermore, she pleaded guilty to it."

Prosecutors recommended that Bishop receive a five-year prison sentence on the amended charge of reckless homicide and that the criminal abuse charge be dropped. Her sentencing was set for April 23.

Daniel Bishop was not charged in the baby's death.

Flanked by her attorneys, Jim Lowry and Jerry Wright, the 27-year-old defendant tearfully answered questions posed to her by Circuit Judge Thomas Clark Thursday. "I didn't see that he (Caleb Eli) could have been hurt or possibly die," she told the judge.

According to court records, Caleb Eli had a fractured skull, a broken leg, retinal hemorrhaging and an injury to his right ear.

Bishop said nothing Thursday about her son's injuries or how he got them.

At the hearing earlier in the month, Lowry said Daniel Bishop had a police record containing several charges and convictions that Courtney Bishop was unaware of before her baby's death.

Courtney Brundige and Daniel Bishop were married in September 2006. They separated in March 2007, not long after she was charged in her son's death, according to court records. The couple's divorce was final in March 2008.

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