The jury returned to circuit court Thursday and recommended a life sentence for the crime, which took place on Aug. 31, 2000.
Following Bishop's outburst last week after a defense witness changed his story and accused Bishop of threatening him, the courtroom was filled Wednesday with state troopers who stood guard around the room as the decision was read. But Bishop's only response was to grimly clench his jaw, though he did send a harsh look toward Commonwealth's Attorney Brent Turner, who had come by to hear the verdict.
The verdict came after both sides presented their closing arguments, with the defense team going first. Lead counsel Harolyn Howard tried to destroy the most damaging evidence in the case, a shirt containing Carolyn Bishop's blood that was found in Bishop's home, by intimating to the jury that Trooper Ron Peppi, who had arrested Bishop on two other occasions, had an opportunity to plant the evidence at Bishop's home.
But Special Prosecutor David Smith turned the tables on Howard's remarks when he gave his close. Smith began with attacking the defense's assumption that a state trooper would risk his career to implicate Bishop. Smith zeroed in on the accusation by reminding the jury that troopers risk their lives daily and used the opportunity to talk about the heroism of Floyd County resident, and state trooper, Ricky Conn, who risked his own life to save residents of the Rolling Acres subdivision when a gas line exploded in Ivel last November.
"I admit that I am biased towards troopers," Smith said, "but by working so closely with them I have an insight into their character. Not just anyone is worthy of wearing that uniform."
The sentencing phase of the case was dealt with Thursday morning and saw each side make a plea to the jury.
Defense co-counsel Bob Gainstein went first and argued that Bishop didn't deserve to be caged up "like an animal" for the rest of his life. He also stated that Bishop maintained his innocence and tried to explain his client's grim demeanor by saying, "How can he show remorse for something he didn't do?"
Smith addressed the jury briefly and began by talking about how people fade away over time when they are not around every day. He asked the jury to let Bishop fade away and said, "I respectfully ask you to give him a life sentence."
Less than two hours later, the jury returned with a recommendation of life in prison.
Bishop is scheduled to be formally sentenced April 8.