LARGO — A 12-member jury began deliberating Friday afternoon in the first-degree murder trial of a man charged with fatally shooting his mother, Imari Shibata, and her boyfriend, Kelley Allen.
Prosecutors said that in the early morning of Oct. 28, 2012, Benjamin Bishop grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun he had been hiding from his family and walked to his mother's room. When Shibata asked what he was doing, Bishop fired at her and Allen several times. Shibata, a nursing assistant, and Allen, a swim coach, died inside the home at 205 Cedar Key Court in Oldsmar. Prosecutors said Bishop killed them because he was angry at his mother, who had told him that evening that he needed to take his medications and get a job.
Throughout the trial this week, Bishop's defense attorneys have argued that Bishop is not guilty by reason of insanity. They detailed his lengthy history of mental illness, including a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Public defender Christina Porrello said during closing arguments Friday that Bishop did not know what he was doing was wrong, and that he killed his mother because she wanted him to take medications that he thought were killing him.
"It is clear that Mr. Bishop has a severe mental health issue, schizophrenia. It is clear that he was unaware of what he was doing and the consequences," Porrello said.
He added that three of the four mental health experts who testified this week concluded Bishop has schizophrenia, except for one who was hired by the state and determined Bishop has a personality disorder. That expert also referred to Bishop as "lazy" and an "Asian Beavis and Butt-head" in written evaluations.
The description was demeaning and showed the expert's bias, Porello argued.
Prosecutors told the jury that they aren't deciding whether Bishop is mentally ill, but rather if he was sane at the time of the shootings.
Assistant state attorney Kendall Davidson pointed out that the defense experts did not ask Bishop about the day of the murders and completed their evaluations based on medical records dating back to 2011.
"They didn't want him to tell them this stuff because that would interfere with them saying he was insane," he said. "So they just didn't ask."