The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

March 9, 2013

Vernon County man pleads guilty to killing his wife

NEVADA, Mo. — A Vernon County man will be going to jail for 17 years for killing his wife.

Mark Edward Bishop, 43, Moundville, was sentenced Friday by Presiding Judge James Bickel in Vernon County Circuit Court after he agreed to plead guilty. According to online court records, Bishop’s trial on the second-degree murder charge was set to begin next week.

Authorities have accused Bishop of inflicting fatal injuries to his wife, Mary L. Bishop, 38, over the course of several hours on Oct. 1, 2011, at their home near Moundville. By the time he finally summoned emergency medical help late at night, she was lying unconscious and barely breathing on their kitchen floor. She initially was taken to the hospital in Nevada, then transferred to Freeman Hospital West in Joplin, where she died on Oct. 3.

A probable-cause affidavit filed in Vernon County Circuit Court listed her injuries or signs of injury as subcranial bleeding on both sides of her brain, a superficial cut 4 to 5 inches long on her neck, burn marks on one arm and bruising on the other, a strawberry bump on her chin, and bruising to her stomach and chest.

Mark Bishop initially suggested to neighbors and sheriff’s deputies that his wife had overdosed on her medications. He also claimed that she tripped and fell twice during the day, and once a few days previously, according to the affidavit.

But neighbors told investigators that the couple had been arguing throughout the day, and that Mary Bishop had told one of them that her husband struck her.

Former Vernon County Sheriff Ron Peckman said at the time of the killing that investigators also have learned of alleged instances of previous physical abuse of Mary Bishop by her husband that apparently went unreported to law enforcement.

Bishop was originally charged with first-degree murder, but the charge was later downgraded to second-degree murder.

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