I-Team exclusive: Freddie Bishop asks for new trial
CRANSTON, R.I. —
Sitting stoic for an interview at the ACI, Alfred "Freddie" Bishop appears more like an aging grandfather than a two-time convicted killer.
"I don't claim to be an angel, but I didn't commit this crime," said Bishop, referring to the 2007 deadly home invasion that now has him serving a life sentence without the chance of parole.
Bishop denies pulling the trigger that June night when Gabriel Medeiros was killed inside his brother and sister-in-law's Warwick home. Days later a badly beaten Bishop was picked up by police and lied about his vicious injuries. The ex-con had been staying at his ex-wife's house just down the street.
Bishop had been paroled less than a year earlier after spending 33 years behind bars. Footage from the NBC 10 film archives showed him being hauled in by authorities after the 1973 killing of his friend James Dunn in Warwick.
Bishop doesn't deny being inside the Medeiros' home in June 2007. But his story is far different from that of homeowner's Claire and Caesar Medeiros, who testified that a masked intruder, armed with a gun, walked in to their home sometime about midnight, demanding valuables.
A violent struggle ensued with a gun and a golf club. Caesar's younger brother, Gabriel was, shot and killed. Bishop maintains someone else was in the house that night that authorities never caught.
"Definitely, and it has to be a brother or a real good friend," said Bishop, now 71.
Bishop told jurors he was called over to the house by a man he didn't know.
"I get in the front door and they close the front door and right away I smell marijuana. I hate the smell of it, so I said, 'Let's step outside.' I turned around to go outside they put a gun to my head. One of them comes over and puts a ski mask on me. They tried to take me out and they failed. That's why the brother testified at the trial, twice that his brother was killed by accident. That bullet was meant for me," Bishop said.
Both of those scenarios were brought up at trial. As was the 911 tape, where Claire Medeiros makes mention of another person fleeing the house. The I-Team obtained access to the tape and evidence locker with a court order.
A frantic Medeiros can be heard explaining to a 911 operator what had occurred.
"Please, he just escaped with someone. My brother-in-law just got shot. Shooting everywhere. Oh my God!," she is heard saying.
"She didn't even remember saying that. If anything, possibly, she assumed he had a getaway driver, but at no time, from the first time we spoke with either Claire or Caesar, the surviving victims, at no time did they ever state that there was any more than one person involved," said Warwick's Deputy Police Chief Michael Babula, who was the detective captain in charge of the investigation.
Bishop's DNA was found at the scene on a ski mask and on a chair, but he denies he was ever in the family's hallway and said his blood would back up his story.
"All that blood. A reasonable person would say some of it has to be Bishop's? There ain't one drop of that blood, mine. I fought them from the front door into the kitchen. This never took place like they testified to. If they had done all the DNA in this case, you wouldn't have me here," said Bishop.
"All actual physical evidence on the scene, in every way backs up the surviving victims' accounts of what happened and contradicts Mr. Bishop's version of events," Babula said.
In court papers for post-conviction relief, the convicted killer is asking for a new trial on the grounds that certain evidence was withheld from him and his then-attorney, Russell Sollitto.
Evidence, such as a voice message left by Claire Medeiros on her sister's answering machine the morning of the shooting, which is referenced in a police report. And Bishop said another anonymous phone message, one witness statement, and some video surveillance wasn't turned over to him, but also appears in police reports.
"You don't hide DNA from a person. You don't hide statements from a person. You don't hide tape recordings from a person, from his trial. If you've got a case, you don't hide these things," said Bishop when asked why people watching the broadcast should be sympathetic to a violent criminal.
Bishop's new attorney, Paul DiMaio of Providence, told the I-Team he's putting arguments together to present to the court likely during the first of the year. DiMaio said he'll have to prove that any new evidence would have substantially changed the outcome of the case.
The I-Team reached out to the Medeiros family for reaction to Bishop's petition. They declined to comment.