A 3rd District judge said he will rule Thursday on whether child killer Arthur Gary Bishop is mentally competent.
Judge James Sawaya, who was expected to rule Wednesday, took the matter under advisement after defense attorneys informed him all the reports and records have not been submitted to the court.Should the judge rule that Bishop is competent, the case will go back to the Utah Supreme Court, which will decide whether to grant Bishop's request to end his appeals, clearing the way for the killer's execution.
Salt Lake County deputy attorney Bob Stott argued to Sawaya that three court-appointed psychiatrists "unanimously testified that Mr. Bishop was competent to make the decision not to pursue post-conviction relief."
Defense attorney Betsy Bowman asked the judge to disagree with the psychiatrists and find Bishop incompetent. She also said that not all the psychiatric and medical records have been submitted to the court.
In contrast to his defense attorney's plea, Bishop told the judge Wednesday that the psychiatrists' opinions are well-founded. "I would stipulate to the accuracy of their findings," he said.
Bowman argued that the psychiatrists' tests were more subjective than objective and that Bishop failed to give accurate responses to their questioning. "The picture Art painted differed from reality," she said. "Art only let the doctors see one side of him."
After apologizing to Bishop for the embarrassment the hearing has caused him, Bowman argued to Sawaya that Bishop has a history of being able to fool people, as evidenced by his embezzlement of some $70,000 several years ago. Bishop also likes to give answers that will please people, and he may be seeking his execution in an effort to please his mother, Bowman said.
Bishop, 38, was convicted in March 1984 and sentenced to die for the sex-related torture deaths of five boys between 1979 and 1983.
A mandatory appeal to the Utah Supreme Court was denied in January. After that Bishop filed a motion with the court to fire his attorneys, who wished to seek further appeals, so he could be executed for his crimes.
The Utah Supreme Court then ordered the 3rd District Court to determine his competency. The competency hearing, during which three psychiatrists testified that Bishop was competent, was delayed while defense attorneys provided the psychiatrists with previously unavailable medical records. The psychiatrists all testified by stipulation Wednesday that the additional information did not change their opinions.
Should the Utah Supreme Court grant Bishop's motion to end his appeals, the case will be sent back to 3rd District Court, which will schedule an execution date within 30 to 60 days.