WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — One of two parents charged with capital murder after their 1-year-old died from malnutrition and negligence is headed to prison.

Photo courtesy Josh Hoggard (KFDX/KJTL)

Christian Miguel Bishop-Torrence, 25, of Wichita Falls, pleaded guilty to one count of felony murder and two counts of endangering a child on Wednesday, April 19, 2023, in the 78th District Court. He was sentenced to life in prison on the murder charge with 671 days of jail credit.

The sentence for the two counts of endangerment of a child was 671 days for each, with the three sentences set to run concurrently. A charge of injury to a child with intent to cause serious bodily injury was dismissed.

Bishop-Torrence was scheduled to appear on Wednesday afternoon for a status hearing in the 78th District Court of the Wichita County Courthouse, with Judge Meredith Kennedy presiding. Ultimately, he would solemnly enter his pleas Wednesday afternoon.

Photo courtesy Josh Hoggard (KFDX/KJTL)

The charges stem from June 2021, when police said Bishop-Torrence brought his one-year-old daughter to the emergency room at United Regional just before 11:30 p.m. on June 11, reporting that she had stopped breathing and was unresponsive.

The child was pronounced dead less than a half-hour after she arrived at the emergency room.

“Extremely malnourished and neglected”

According to officials in the emergency room on the night of June 11 and the morning of June 12, 2021, the one-year-old girl “appeared extremely malnourished and neglected”. They said she weighed only eight pounds, roughly a third of what she should’ve weighed at her age.

The affidavit also said the child had dirt plastered to her skin, as well as circular blisters on her lower back and buttocks.

Photo courtesy Josh Hoggard (KFDX/KJTL)

Bishop-Torrence would later admit that the child has been losing weight since March 2021 but said that he and the girl’s mother never sought medical attention for the child. He said he didn’t know when the last check-up was for his daughter because the child’s mother handled all of that.

According to the affidavit, Bishop-Torrence eventually admitted that he knew he “[expletive] up” and that he didn’t notice how bad the child was.

John Gillespie, Wichita County’s District Attorney, was at the emergency room the night the girl was admitted, and he said it’s one of the most shocking cases he’s ever seen.

“I got a phone call and I stood in the ER,” Gillespie said. “The sergeant with the WFPD said I needed to see this for myself, and I stood there in the ER room with the baby on the table, and I’ll never get those images out of my mind.”

Mental health concerns influenced plea deal

Gillespie said one of the concerns he had with the case of Bishop-Torrence was his history of mental health struggles. He said he feared that a defense team might have been able to convince a jury that Bishop-Torrence’s mental health issues should warrant a lesser offense.

Photo courtesy Josh Hoggard (KFDX/KJTL)

Some of those struggles were evident during Wednesday afternoon’s hearing. At times, Bishop-Torrence seemed confused and remained silent after Judge Kennedy asked him if he’d seen a mental health professional at any point.

Gillespie said after reviewing and considering all of the “shocking” facts of this case, he didn’t feel Bishop-Torrence’s mental health was ultimately to blame for his daughter’s tragic death.

“He certainly was not criminally insane,” Gillespie said. “The defense was certainly willing to claim that there was some sort of diminished capacity in this case, so that’s the risk that I look at when making this deal.”

Ultimately, Judge Kennedy determined Bishop-Torrence was competent to stand trial. His defense attorneys revealed that he takes medication for ADHD, but Bishop-Torrence said that the medication in no way made him unable to understand the plea bargain.

Gillespie said a plea deal made the alleged mental health struggles of the girl’s father a moot point, and although Bishop-Torrence was not convicted of capital murder, meaning he will be eligible for parole in 30 years, Gillespie is happy with the deal that was able to be worked out.

“The agreement was that he plead to life to murder, which is a lesser included of capital murder, because of the severe neglect of the baby,” Gillespie said. “In exchange, he signed a waiver of appeal, so the taxpayers don’t have to pay the cost of the trial or the appeal and we don’t run the risk of a lesser included to something.”

Hearing reset for murdered child’s mother

Sage Wright, Wichita County Jail

The child’s mother, Sage Wright, 23, of Wichita Falls, told police in June 2021 after her child died that she “failed to connect with her” in the way she connected with her other children.

Wright was also scheduled to appear in court for a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday, April 19, 2023, but that hearing was reset. She faces the same charges as Bishop-Torrence and has been held in jail since June 2021 on bonds totaling $1.6 million.

Gillespie declined to comment on the child’s mother, as her charges remain pending.

This is a developing story. Stick with Texoma’s Homepage for updates as more information becomes available.