Coty Bishop appears in court on May 16. Bishop is accused of second-degree murder in the shooting death of 22-year-old Casey Jones. (Becky Campbell/Johnson City Press)
An attorney for an 18-year-old Johnson City man charged with the second-degree murder of a man who was shot outside a West Market Street hotel on May 15 argued that evidence presented in a preliminary hearing on Tuesday clearly shows it was a case of self defense.
Washington County Sessions Court Judge Robert Lincoln ruled the question was for one for a jury to consider and sent the murder and tampering with evidence charges against Coty Tristan Bishop to a grand jury for possible indictment.
Johnson City Police Investigator Justin Adams testified that following Bishop’s arrest he stated he shot 22-year-old Casey Jones while seated in the front passenger seat of his sister’s Ford minivan outside the Johnson Inn after Jones put a gun to his head and threatened to blow his brains out.
According to Adams, statements given to investigators by Bishop’s sister, Diseree “Casey” Bishop, and Jones’ roommate, John Bishop, who is not related to Coty Bishop or his sister, both confirmed Coty Bishop’s statement that Jones was attempting to rob Diseree Bishop during a failed drug transaction when the shooting occurred.
Under questioning from Assistant District Attorney General Will Monk, Adams read the statement given by Coty Bishop following his arrest on a railroad track where he was found walking a short time after the shooting.
In the statement written by Adams and signed by Coty Bishop, Bishop told the investigator his sister came to his home about 5 p.m. May 15 and asked him to go with her to buy marijuana and to “bring the gun.” He said they went to Johnson Inn, where Jones and John Bishop got into the minivan and asked Coty Bishop and his sister for money to take into an apartment at the hotel room to buy the marijuana.
When they refused to give him money until they received the marijuana, Bishop said Jones went into the apartment then returned and told them the seller would not give him marijuana without first receiving money. At that point, Coty Bishop said Casey Jones, who was in the minivan’s second row passenger side compartment, put his arm around his neck and the gun to his head and told his sister, “Let’s try it this way. Give me the money or I’ll blow his brains out.”
Adams testified Coty Bishop said he already had his hand on the gun at his side when he raised weapon, turned to the left, pointed the gun over his left shoulder and fired one shot, striking Jones in the head.
After the shooting, Bishop told Adams he left the hotel on foot, emptied the gun’s remaining shells into a Dumpster and discarded the weapon in a wooded area. Adams testified the gun was never recovered, resulting in the tampering with evidence charge.
Adams said Jones’ roommate, John Bishop, told investigators he came to the hotel with Jones for the drug transaction and became aware at some point during the transaction that Jones had decided to rob the Bishop siblings because he did not have any drugs.
According to Adams, while Desiree Bishop’s statement to investigators contained some inconsistencies, she also stated she and her brother were being robbed.
Adams said a loaded 9 mm handgun with a round of ammunition in its chamber was found in the second row floorboard of the minivan beneath Jones’ body.
When officers arrived at the hotel, Jones was already dead and lying in the van’s second row floorboard with his feet on the ground outside the rear sliding door and his head on the front seat console.
A projectile that appeared to have been fired from revolver was found at the rear of the minivan. The 9 mm handgun did not appear to have been fired and no spent shells were found inside the minivan, Adams said.
Monk argued the evidence fit the second-degree murder charge of “a knowing killing” in which Coty Bishop possessed a gun, pointed the gun at a man’s head and pulled the trigger during an attempt to buy marijuana.
Defense attorney Gene Scott argued “all the evidence shows a case of self defense” in which Jones was committing robbery and had a gun to Coty Bishop’s head, causing Bishop to be in fear of Jones when he shot him.
Lincoln said that “what happened appears to be a knowing killing” and that there may be other evidence for a jury to consider.
A misdemeanor drug possession charge, a red light violation and two charges of failure to show proof of insurance filed against Coty Bishop in April were dismissed at the conclusion of the hearing because none of the witnesses in those case were present Tuesday, but those charges may also be presented to a grand jury.comments powered by Disqus