October 21, 2013 in City

Man accused of fatally stabbing pregnant girlfiend to be retried

Robbie Bishop, 23, back in court on murder charge
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Prosecutors will retry a Spokane man who was deemed incompetent to stand trial in the 2009 stabbing death of his pregnant girlfriend.

Robbie Bishop, 23, was in court Monday on the re-filed charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter stemming from the death of Robin Anderson at a mobile home in central Spokane in August 2009.

Prosecutors decided to try again after a mental evaluation conducted earlier this year found Bishop competent to defend himself against allegations he threatened to kill an executive at Eastern State Hospital, where he was being treated, in December.

Defense attorney Anna Nordtvedt said Monday that determination ignores multiple findings in court that Bishop, who’s struggled with learning disabilities since infancy, has been unfit for trial.

The newly re-filed charges continue a labyrinthine legal resume for Bishop, who has been confined in some capacity since Aug. 22, 2009, when authorities discovered Anderson, four months pregnant, dead of more than 50 stab wounds on the floor of the mobile home where she and Bishop had been staying. Bishop was later arrested hiding in a nearby parked boat, covered in blood and with multiple cuts on his hands.

Prosecutors charged Bishop with second-degree murder and manslaughter for the death of the unborn child. Multiple witnesses reported Bishop had a jealous streak and had overheard his threats to kill Anderson.

But a judge ruled that case dropped without prejudice in August 2012, sending Bishop to Eastern State for confinement after multiple defense experts testified Bishop could not understand the charges against him.

The alleged threat in December followed, as well as a new round of psychiatric evaluations. Psychologist Patricia Gribble examined Bishop in July, determining through a test of courtroom understanding that Bishop “did have the capacity to understand the nature of the proceedings and the capacity to assist in the defense.”

Prosecutors subsequently filed first-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter charges last week.

Nordtvedt objected, saying Gribble selectively surveyed existing mental evaluations in reaching her conclusion. Bishop has been examined for competency at least eight times during the past decade, according to court documents, and Nordvedt told Judge James Triplet she would not be asking her client to sign court documents drafted Monday.

“I don’t believe he understands them,” Nordtvedt said.

Triplet set Bishop’s bail at $1 million on the re-filed charges. He remains in custody at Spokane County Jail pending a hearing in which lawyers will dispute the latest findings of Bishop’s mental state. That hearing is scheduled for December.

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