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Mother of Child Who Died in Neglect Case Asks to Be Released

She has only been in jail for seven months and despite being sentenced to eight years, a local mother whose child died in her care, wants to be released.

Jamie Bishop, along with her parents, Ray and Sharon Martin, was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to second degree manslaughter in the death of her son.

The River City News reported at the time:

Joseph Bishop, 18, son of Jamie Bishop, who lived with her parents, Ray and Sharon Marin, died in February. He suffered from Duchenne muscular dystrophy and spent the past several years in bed. Even his wheelchair went mostly unused and a lift that could have helped bring the boy out of bed was found behind the house on Lake Street, folded up.

Medication that had been prescribed for the teen went unused or unfinished, including one prescription that dates back to 2014 and requiring multiple dosages a day.

The boy's bed sores were treated by his mother and grandparents with an antibiotic ointment purchased at a nearby dollar store. Ludlow Police Detective Eric Love testified during a February preliminary hearing that the family originally suggested that that they thought Bishop's illness could be kept under control by their efforts, but later amended that story to letting him know that they feared punishment for neglect.

When officers arrived at the Lake Street house, after the teen had been taken to Children's Hospital in Cincinnati, where he died, Bishop's bedroom had been tidied up. His mattress had been taken out to the backyard, and there were receipts from that day where the family went to the dollar store for cleaning supplies. 

Through her public defender, Jamie Bishop is now asking for shock probation, meaning that a judge would allow her to be released from prison and to serve the remainder of her sentence on probation.

The request seems unlikely considering that two Kenton County judges blasted the trio for the inaction that led to the teen's death. Kenton District Judge Ann Ruttle accused the family of allowing Joseph Bishop to rot, while Kenton Circuit Judge Kathy Lape was angry that the charge was not higher than second degree manslaughter.

At the time, Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders said that state law would not allow first degree manslaughter to apply. Lape and Sanders both expressed remorse that Bishop and the Martins could be up for parole in just two years, after serving 20 percent of a possible 10-year sentence. "We are getting as much justice as the law allows in this case," Sanders said during the sentencing hearing in May. 

He remains opposed to letting Bishop out early.

"Granting early release would unduly depreciate the seriousness of this offense and the value of Joey Bishop's life," Sanders told The River City News.

In her letter Judge Lape asking for shock probation, Bishop wrote that she would like to be enrolled in Louisville-based Priscilla's Place, a program for women, so that she could become a better person and a better mother to her daughter, Hanna, who also wrote a letter in support of her mother.

"I believe that me sitting in jail will not ever change this feeling I have in my heart as each time I have been to court I have to re-live my nightmare over and over again," Bishop wrote. "By being put on television and my name being spread in the worst way in jail and outside jail I feel as if this pain will never go away for the rest of my life."

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo: Jamie Bishop enters a Kenton County courtroom earlier this year (RCN file)