Alexander Bishop is a 16-year-old Durham County, North Carolina teenager who is accused of strangling his wealthy developer father to death with a dog leash.
Bishop’s father, William Leslie Bishop, died in April 2018, but charges were brought against the teenage son in February 2019. Alexander Bishop called 911 to report his father’s death. He’s now been charged with murder. According to online jail records, Alexander Bishop is being held in the Durham County jail on $1 million bail. He was charged with murder on February 22, 2019, the records show. The father was sometimes called Bill Bishop.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. William Bishop’s Son Is Accused of Telling Authorities He Found a Dog Leash Looped Around His Dad’s Neck
Authorities were called to the Bishop family’s $800,000 home in April 2018, and there they found a grisly scene in the family’s theater room.
According to ABC 11, Alexander Bishop called 911.
The probable cause statement states that Alexander told authorities that he found his dad unresponsive in their basement “with a dog leash wrapped three times around his neck and the dog still attached.” He claimed that he removed the dog leash and looked for a pulse on his dad, but he didn’t find one. The father was found in an oversized leather chair in the family theater room, according to the probable cause statement.
Alexander Bishop claimed that he removed the leash from around his dad’s neck, called his mom, Sharon, and then dialed 911, the ABC 11 television station reported. Bill Bishop was discovered unresponsive in a chair and later died. He was strangled, per the autopsy. The television station printed this 911 call transcript:
Caller: When I got in there and checked his pulse. He wasn’t breathing. His heart wasn’t beating.
Operator: Is there anyone else at the home with you?
Caller: No. (pause) I don’t know if I can go in there again. I don’t want to look at him.
Operator: I understand sir.
You can listen to an edited version of the 911 call here.
The police press release on the arrest, obtained by Heavy, states that the “Durham teen was arrested Friday and charged with murder in the April 2018 death of his father on Dover Road.”
“Officers were dispatched to a cardiac arrest call in the 3400 block of Dover Road shortly after 6 p.m. on April 18, 2018. When they arrived, they found 60-year-old William Leslie Bishop unresponsive inside the house. He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later,” the release says.
“An autopsy was conducted and indicated that Bishop had died as result of homicide by strangulation. A Durham County grand jury this week issued an indictment charging Bishop’s son, Alexander Bishop, 16, of Durham, with murder. Bishop was arrested today by Durham police investigators. He has been taken to the Durham County Jail.”
2. William Bishop Was a Well-Known Developer in Tampa
William Bishop, 59, was connected and well-liked in Hillsborough County, where he made a living as a developer. The News & Observer described Bill Bishop as “a prominent developer in the Tampa, Florida, area” who moved to North Carolina to study for a doctoral degree.
“He’d want to be remembered as someone who loved people and the land and who enjoyed making the world a more beautiful place,” Sharon Bishop, his ex-wife, said in his Tampa Bay Times obituary, which added that he was a native of Pittsburgh.
The Tampa Bay Times described him as “politically-connected” and said he was “instrumental in the development of several walk-able suburban neighborhoods, including Westchase and FishHawk Ranch.” He was working towards his Ph.D in city and regional planning from a North Carolina university at Chapel Hill, according to his LinkedIn page.
Bill Bishop’s LinkedIn page says he was a “Master-planned community (land developer) with more than 30 years of innovative and effective project planning and execution. Subject matter expert in real estate, land development, urban planning.”
It continued: “Extensive experience in both greenfield and brownfield master-planned community development. Specific expertise includes: Project Conceptualization and Design • Land Acquisition/Assemblage • Portfolio Evaluation/Acquisition • Land Planning • Community Marketing • Contract Solicitation, Negotiation & Management • Public/Private Partnerships • Public Finance • Construction Management • Environmental & Regulatory Compliance • Community Outreach • Project Management.”
He listed his current occupation as a principal in a North Carolina development, finance, and planning group.
3. Alexander Is Accused of Saying He Was ‘Relieved’ His Father Was Gone Due to Alleged Verbal Abuse Over the Dishes Being Left Out & Homework
According to The Tampa Bay Times, Alexander Bishop is accused of telling an emergency worker that he was relieved his father was gone, and the worker noted in a documents, “Alexander also told officers that he was extremely fearful for what his father would do if he survived.”
The Associated Press reported that Alexander is accused of saying that “he wasn’t going to be upset about his father dying. He explained that his father verbally abused him and his mom for a number of years,” and added “that there had never been anything physical to occur, just constant verbal abuse over minor things like dishes being left in the sink and homework not being completed.”
Bishop’s family hired a pathologist who cast doubt on the medical examiner’s ruling that Bill Bishop was murdered by strangulation, saying it should be listed as undetermined, the News & Observer reported.
One friend wrote on Facebook, “Bill Bishop’s private, family funeral service is today in Durham. I talked to Sharon Bishop about putting together a memorial service here in Tampa for Bill in the next month or so. She would like to do that. We’d like Bill’s sons, Jefferson and Alexander, to hear about their Dad, meet his many friends, and see his work, as well as for Bill’s Tampa friends to meet and share stories and remembrances.”
4. Authorities Found Suspicious Searches on the Teen’s Phone, Reports Say
Initially, according to ABC 11, authorities investigated a financial motive for Bill’s death in part because he kept a receipt for almost $500,000 in gold in his office safe.
According to ABC 11, authorities searched Alexander’s phone and discovered “searches on how to calculate the value of an estate, how to transfer bank accounts, and the value of the price of gold per ounce.” According to AP, a detective wrote in the search warrant: “These searches and websites explain a possible motive for Alexander Bishop to kill his dad.”
WRAL-TV reported that authorities also confiscated a hypodermic needle and “an unidentified clear liquid from the teen’s room.” Alexander Bishop attended Durham Academy.
Bill Bishop’s net worth was around $5.5 million, the Herald Sun reported. The AP reported that Bill Bishop was granted custody of his sons after a divorce and was first separated from their mother in 2016.
5. Bill Bishop’s Girlfriend Sought Control of His Estate
There was a battle for control of William Bishop’s multi-million dollar estate after his death.
According to the Herald Sun, Julie Seel, the girlfriend of Bill Bishop “successfully sought temporary control of his estate, saying she needs to protect his assets worth millions of dollars.”
They’d dated for a year at the time of the death. The newspaper reported that Bishop’s divorce with his wife – and the mother of Alexander – was finalized just weeks before Bill Bishop died.
Julie Seel is a clinical psychologist at Duke Integrative Medicine and, according to the newspaper, Bishop’s ex wife and sons tried to get her removed from controlling the estate.
On April 23, 2018 on Facebook, Seel wrote, “My partner, Bill Bishop, had a massive heart attack on Wednesday and died on Saturday (9:32am – April 21, 2018). I was with him until his last breath. A devastating end to an amazing year full of family, travel, laughter, love, hopes, and dreams. Today is our one year anniversary – I am grateful for all that he gave to Elena and me over this past year, and was blessed to be a part of his son’s Alexander and Jefferson lives. A great love story with an unfortunate end.”