Editor’s note: The original version of this story had an error in which the defendant’s last name was incorrect.
The Springfield man accused of murdering his 79-year-old grandmother appeared in court this week via video from the Greene County Jail.
Brandon Wilson, 36, is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree domestic assault for the death of Judy Bishop on Aug. 28, 2021.
Prior to Bishop’s death, Wilson had been arrested and convicted multiple times for domestic assault and specifically for assaulting his grandmother. Two weeks before the murder, Wilson was charged with violating a protection order Bishop had on him, but was allowed to remain free.
The prosecution and Wilson’s defense attorney agreed on April 4 to give the Missouri Department of Mental Health another 60 days to finish its mental evaluation of Wilson.
Cindy Alcorn, Wilson’s mother and daughter of the victim, sat with a family friend in the third row of Judge Jerry Harmison’s courtroom, listening intently to what the attorneys had to say.
Following the hearing, Alcorn told the Springfield Daily Citizen that she does not have contact with her son in jail — mostly because she wouldn’t know what to say to him.
She comes to the hearings because she hopes her son will finally get the help he needs.
“It’s hard. We just have to do one day at a time,” Alcorn said. “I want him to be put in a mental place. Prison isn’t going to help him.”
Victim was ‘grandmother’ of neighborhood
Alcorn described her mother — the victim, Judy Bishop — as a “wonderful woman” who was “always taking care of everybody.”
“She always thought she could fix him,” Alcorn said, shaking her head.
Friends, family and neighbors dedicated a bench in Bishop’s honor in Lafayette Park, Springfield’s oldest park located in the Woodland Heights Neighborhood. The bench and park are just feet away from the brown house at 219 W. Atlantic St., Bishop’s home where she was assaulted and stabbed.
An inscription on the bench reads: ‘Sit a spell’ In Memory of Judy Bishop.
Alcorn said her family has lived in the neighborhood for more than 100 years.
“She was the grandmother of the neighborhood.”
Family tried to get defendant help for years
Alcorn told the Daily Citizen that her son has been diagnosed as bipolar, schizophrenic and psychotic. She believes some of his troubles stem from drug use when he was younger.
“He’d been in and out of psych wards for five or six years,” Alcorn said. “It’s hard to get help for mental illness because if they don’t know they need it or don’t want it, you can’t make them. They need to do something to fix that.”
Alcorn said her son would often voluntarily check himself into facilities, including the Mercy Marian Center, the inpatient psych unit at Cox North and Burrell Behavioral Health. They would keep Wilson for however long they could, Alcorn said, and then release him with medications — which he rarely took as prescribed.
Alcorn said her son had been hospitalized just two weeks before Bishop’s death. At the time of the murder, Alcorn had an appointment with an attorney who was going to help the family get Wilson committed to a long-term treatment program.
“He’s mentally wrong,” she said. “This would have never happened if he’d got help.”
What police say happened
According to the probable cause statement, Wilson called 911 from Bishop’s home on Atlantic Street around 11:40 a.m. on Aug. 28, 2021, to report that his grandmother was laying on the floor unconscious and bleeding.
He told the dispatcher he did not know why she was bleeding.
The dispatcher asked if Bishop was still breathing and then heard Wilson shouting, ‘are you breathing?’ The dispatcher asked Wilson if he would do CPR, but he declined.
Medical personnel arrived and transported Bishop to the hospital, where she later died.
The statement said she had bruising to her arms and head and lacerations to her neck and shoulder.
Officers located a knife in the grass at Lafayette Park and obtained security video from neighbors that showed Wilson leaving Bishop’s home and discarding what appeared to be a knife in the area where the knife was found.
Alcorn, identified in the probable cause statement as ‘CA’, told the officer that Wilson spent more than a year in jail for assaulting his grandmother. He had recently been released and returned to his grandmother’s home, but he wasn’t supposed to be there.
She told police that her son wasn’t allowed to come to her house because Alcorn’s husband also had a restraining order against him because he “gets violent,” the officer wrote.
When interviewed by police, Wilson denied hurting his grandmother. He told the officers that Bishop recently had heart surgery and that she might have been messed up from that and fell.
In addition to the murder and domestic assault charges, Wilson is also charged with armed criminal action and tampering with physical evidence.
His next court appearance is a pre-trial conference on June 6.