LONDON, Ont. – A second-degree murder charge levelled against a London woman’s boyfriend is a “relief,” Jocelyn Bishop’s family says.
Two weeks after Bishop’s body was found in a shallow grave, and a day after her life was celebrated in a “beautiful service,” Chris Gale, 29, was charged Thursday in her death.
“This has been and continues to a painful a loss and experience for our whole family,” Jenn Bishop, Jocelyn’s aunt, said in a statement on behalf of her family. “But the second-degree murder charge is welcomed with relief.”
While Gale sat in custody on marijuana and gun charges, the London police investigation was piecing together what happened to the 21-year old woman who grew up in Burlington and died of a gunshot wound to the head.
A week ago, a charge of causing an indignity to a dead body was added to Gale’s list of allegations.
Police Thursday said the murder charge had been laid. Friday, an Ontario Court decision is expected on whether Gale is eligible for bail on other charges.
The murder charge ends any chance of a release from custody Friday, but there’ll likely be a ruling about the other charges.
“That changes things a little bit,” said Gale’s defence lawyer, Donald Crawford.
Crawford said he still wants to apply for bail and “we’ll have to do it all over again in Superior Court,” he said.
There was no court-ordered publication ban Monday when startling details about Bishop’s death and Gale’s conduct were heard at the bail hearing.
Gale called Bishop’s family on July 4, and asked if they’d seen her. He said she’d walked away from their home June 27 after an argument.
Bishop was suffering from some mental health illness.
Bishop’s father called the police and they searched the home, finding guns, ammunition and a marijuana grow operation.
They found two couches on the front lawn without the cushions. They found out later Gale’s parents had bought him two new couches and his step-father had disposed of the cushions in a dumpster behind a nearby Golftown store.
There was no blood in the house, but someone saw what appeared to be blood on one couch.
There was some other questionable behaviour by Gale’s parents. His mother testified she didn’t clean his house, but swept the floor and wiped it down for the new couches. She said the house was “a pig sty.”
Bishop’s body was found July 8 and, later that day, Gale was arrested at his aunt’s home near St. Thomas.
While being questioned by police, Gale said Bishop broke his right hand with a metal pipe during their argument, then shot herself in a bedroom with a Cobray M-11 gun, similar to a Mac10, that Gale had built himself.
After his mother had taken him to hospital for his broken hand, Gale said he wrapped Bishop’s body in a tarp, then carried it most of the way to where he buried her.
His mother and three of his aunts stepped up Monday to pledge themselves as sureties should he be released from custody.
A memorial service was held for Bishop in Burlington Wednesday.
Several family members are expected to be at the London courthouse Friday to hear the bail decision and the new charge.
“We would like to thank the London police for their diligence, professionalism and their respect for our family,” Jen Bishop said.
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