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Homicide-by-neglect legislation in Kentucky

This petition had 2,922 supporters

This legislation is being pursued in memory of Joey Bishop.

Joey, an 18 year old from Kenton County, Kentucky, was afflicted with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive muscle wasting disorder.

Joey's mother and grandparents have pled guilty in connection with his death. reports: link to story

"There is no doubt in Ludlow Police Chief Scott Smith's mind that Joseph "Joey" Bishop, whose Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy kept him confined to his twin bed for the past two years, was in excruciating pain in the last weeks of his life as the bed sores that covered his back, legs and arms grew in size and severity."

""I would say in my 19 years, this is among the one or two worst conditions of a body I've seen," the detective said. Court records note that the bedsores were so deep that in some places muscle and bone were exposed.

"To know that he was alive and suffering, that is the worst," Love said.

The chief was more graphic and succinct: "Joey rotted to death."

From the River City News, May 25, 2017:

Three days after Joseph Bishop's death, his mother and grandparents were arrested. In February, Kenton District Judge Anne Ruttle accused the trio of letting the teen rot.

On Thursday, they pleaded guilty and Judge Lape expressed anger that Bishop and the Martins could only face a maximum of ten years in prison.

Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders said that the second degree manslaughter charge was ultimately the only that applied, as Kentucky does not offer a homicide-by-neglect option. He said that he shared the judge's concerns that the punishment would not be severe enough for the death of a young man.

"Ten years for the life of an 18-year old man," Lape said. "I have sentenced Covington thugs to fifteen years for theft of identification."

Sanders argued that in those cases, defendants often have lengthy criminal records, and that was not the case with Bishop and the Martins. "I can't help that (first degree manslaughter) does not apply statutorily," Sanders said. He added that if the case would go to trial, a jury would likely agree that second degree manslaughter is most applicable.

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.

This is UNACCEPTABLE.  We ask that the Kentucky Legislature quickly pass legislation that properly punishes horrific crimes such as this, by enacting homicide-by-neglect as a prosecutable offense.



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