Jury Still Deliberating Walter Bishop’s Possible Death Penalty Sentence
TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)—A decision could come at any time as a jury weighs the fate of a man convicted of killing a Towson gas station owner in a murder-for-hire scheme. Walter Bishop wants the jury to decide if he should live or die.
Weijia Jiang has the latest on the deliberations.
It took a jury less than five hours to convict Walter Bishop Jr., 29, of capital murder for gunning down Hess gas station owner Ray Porter in March 2010 in exchange for $9,000.
Now four days into the sentencing phase, jury members have not reached a verdict on how Bishop should pay for the crime.
“I just came towards his face. I just closed my eyes and pulled the trigger,” Bishop said in a taped confession.
Under new state law, Bishop is eligible to receive the death penalty because of the chilling, videotaped confession.
Defense attorneys called on several witnesses, who pointed to a troubled childhood and mental illnesses as reasons he may have killed Porter.
“This ain’t my boy. If I had been a father back then, I don’t think none of this would have happened. I blame half of it and more or less all of it on me. If I had been a father to him, this wouldn’t have happened,” said Walter Bishop Sr.
Defense attorneys also argued Bishop Jr. had priors on his criminal record, that he was all but forced to shoot Porter at the pressure of Carla Porter, the victim’s wife, who stands accused of orchestrating the murder-for-hire plot.
Still, prosecutors pushed for capital punishment, painting a picture of a cold-hearted Bishop who only cared about making money.
And for the first time, Bishop himself addressed the family. He said “Every morning, I wake up and relive the moments of March 1. It haunts me when I sleep. It haunts me when I’m awake. I want to express I’m sorry with every fiber of my being. I’m sorry you lost your son.”
“I just wanted to take him by his hand and lead him out of there. And I knew I couldn’t,” said Bishop Sr.
Bishop also directly spoke to the jury. He apologized that they had to be there to make such a life-changing decision.
Count on WJZ to bring you the decision once it’s been reached.