Local News

Durham teen accused of killing his father released after judge sets $250K unsecured bond

Posted February 25, 2019 11:21 a.m. EST
Updated February 25, 2019 6:10 p.m. EST

— A Durham County teen arrested three days ago for allegedly killing his father last year walked out of jail Monday after a judge set a $250,000 unsecured bond during a preliminary hearing.

Wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, Alexander Bishop, 16, was present for the morning courtroom session. His lawyer said the teen was not guilty of killing his father, whose body was found in the family's home nearly a year ago.

The judge decided to set a $250,000 unsecured bond for the teen, and he was ordered to surrender his passport.

Because it was an unsecured bond, that meant neither the teen or his family had to pay any money for Alexander Bishop to be released from jail.

"Alexander Bishop should be released on a unsecured bond," his lawyer said. "That's what we're asking the court to do today."

A Durham County grand jury indicted Alexander Bishop on a murder charge last week.

Bill Bishop, 59, a prominent developer in the Tampa area was found unconscious in his Durham home on Dover Road on April 18. He died in a local hospital two days later.

An autopsy report states "ligature strangulation" as the cause of death, noting that led to a heart attack that deprived Bishop's brain of oxygen.

Alexander's mother and his aunt, the victim's sister, were both in court as his lawyer suggested that having them there bolstered the defense's argument that the teen is not guilty of killing his father.

The teen said he found his father unconscious in the theater room of the family home near Hope Valley Country Club with a dog leash wrapped around his neck and the dog still on the leash, according to an application for a search warrant in the case. The leash wasn't on Bill Bishop when paramedics arrived at the house, the application states.

The man's death was ruled a homicide in July 2018.

Police searched the laptop computer that Durham Academy had assigned to Alexander Bishop and also found suspicious information on the teen's cellphone, such as searches for calculating the value of an estate, transferring bank accounts after a death and the prices of gold, according to search warrants.

Police also seized a hypodermic needle and an unidentified clear liquid from the teen's room.

According to an application for a warrant to search Bill Bishop's safe deposit box at a PNC Bank branch in Durham, police were looking for about $50,000 worth of gold bars, as well as financial records and other valuables.