Attorneys for Courtney Diane Brundige Bishop, accused of murder and criminal abuse in the 2007 death of her 1-month-old son, will be arguing at her upcoming trial that her then-husband, Daniel Bishop, killed the infant.
"It is our defense in this case that Mr. Bishop committed this crime," Jim Lowry, one of the woman's attorneys, said at a court hearing Wednesday afternoon.
At the hearing in Fayette Circuit Court, the defense and prosecution argued before Circuit Judge Thomas Clark about whether certain evidence pertaining to Daniel Bishop should be admitted during the trial, scheduled to begin March 15.
Among the evidence Clark will be allowing the jury to hear about are two misdemeanor assault charges filed against Daniel Bishop — one in 1990 after he allegedly pushed his mother; the other in 1997 after he allegedly ripped a telephone out of a wall.
"They show motive; they show intent," Lowry said, adding that it would not be "harmless error" if the 1990 and 1997 charges were not admissible as evidence.
Clark ruled that although the 1990 and 1997 charges would be admissible, the fact that Daniel Bishop was convicted in those cases would not be allowed. The judge also refused to allow as evidence a string of other offenses Daniel Bishop has been charged with over the years, including traffic offenses, misdemeanor theft and escape.
The judge said he would allow information about Daniel Bishop apparently having a child with another woman, who was married to another man when she had that child, and Daniel Bishop's relationship with that child. Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Lou Anna Red Corn said Bishop is thought to be the father of that child but there is no evidence he is.
"That is a collateral issue in this case," she said, adding that a whole day would be spent during the trial discussing Daniel Bishop's relationship to a child he had no legal right to.
Lowry said Daniel Bishop had no relationship with the other child, a crucial fact that needed to come out in his ex-wife's murder trial.
Courtney Brundige and Daniel Bishop were married in September 2006. Caleb Eli Bishop was born Jan. 21, 2007.
Courtney Bishop, now 27, was a music teacher at Christ the King School when she had her son. Daniel Bishop, now 36, was an employee of ACS on Harrodsburg Road in 2007. Courtney Bishop was on maternity leave when she had Caleb.
He died Feb. 25, 2007. He had a skull fracture, a broken leg, retinal hemorrhaging and an injury to his right ear, according to court records. Courtney and Daniel Bishop could not explain how the injuries occurred, according to court records.
The couple separated in March 2007, not long after Courtney Bishop was charged in her son's death, according to court records. The couple's divorce was final in March 2008.
Lowry said Courtney Bishop did not know about her husband's previous legal difficulties — that he misled her and was not truthful with her — when she talked to authorities after her son's death. Lowry also said there are witnesses who saw Daniel Bishop handle Caleb roughly.
"This baby had huge injuries, and a crucial part of the case is how (Daniel Bishop) handled that baby," Lowry said.
Courtney Bishop was released from jail in 2007 on a $100,000 property bond.