Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Decatur mother pleads not guilty to accidentally smothering her son to death
top story

Decatur mother pleads not guilty to accidentally smothering her son to death

Jennifer Bishop mug shot


DECATUR — Jennifer E. Bishop appeared in Macon County Circuit Court Wednesday, pleading not guilty to accidentally suffocating her baby son to death while drunk and sleeping in the same bed with him.

Bishop, 32, was defended by attorney Steve Jones who told Judge Phoebe Bowers that his client wanted to waive a preliminary hearing to see if there was probable cause to try her in the death of 2-month-old Franky Martin. She faces two counts of causing a child to be endangered resulting in death.

Bowers placed the case on her own trial list and scheduled a pretrial hearing for Aug. 6. Bishop remains held in the Macon County Jail with bail set at $500,000, which means she must post $50,000 to be released.

The judge also told Bishop she was facing more legal problems: a second charge accused her of violating probation by committing the crime against her son and being drunk when she did it.

Bishop received a 24 month probation sentence on Nov. 8, 2018, after pleading guilty to aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol and having no insurance.

Support Local Journalism

Your membership makes our reporting possible.

A Decatur police affidavit about the death of her son on Feb. 27 accuses Bishop of lying to detectives and claiming she found the baby unresponsive while he was sleeping in his own crib. Detective James Knierim said the only crib available was filled with items like books and clothing and was clearly used for storage. He said Bishop’s version of events was not credible.

The detective also said she initially lied about drinking alcohol, even as police could smell it on her breath. “Jennifer would later admit in an interview at police headquarters to consuming an entire bottle (200 millilitres) of Canadian Superior Whiskey,” said the affidavit. “Jennifer advised she is an alcoholic and had been battling her addiction.”

Police also said she drank a bottle of NyQuil cold medicine for its alcohol content when she had run out of liquor, and had fallen asleep next to the baby after mixing drinking with prescription drugs.

An autopsy report would later conclude Martin died from “asphyxia due to overlaying while co-sleeping/bed sharing in an adult bed with an adult.”

2020 mugshots from the Herald & Review

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


Sign up for our Crime & Courts newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News