Bill Bishop (businessman)

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William "Bill" Bishop (September 29, 1958 – April 21, 2018) was an American businessman, real estate developer, and urban designer. In 2018 Bishop was found unresponsive at his Hope Valley Country Club home in Durham, North Carolina. His death is currently under criminal investigation.


Bishop grew up in Pittsburgh. He worked as a metalwork artist before starting a business career as an urban designer. He became a prominent real estate developer in Hillsborough County, Florida and was responsible for the building of Pebble Creek, Westchase, Waterchase and Highland Park communities. He also had a prominent role in the development of Fish Hawk. In 2008 he moved to North Carolina to work on a master's degree in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, eventually working toward his Ph.D.[1][2]

Bishop was married to Sharon Bishop, with whom he had two sons, Jefferson and Alexander. The family resided in Hope Valley Country Club in Durham, North Carolina. He and his wife separated in November 2016. Bishop filed for divorce on November 13, 2017. The divorce was granted on April 6, 2018.[3] He later began a relationship with clinical psychologist Julie Seel.[3][4]

Legal issues[edit]

In 2010 his wife filed court documents outlining Bishops' reportedly abusive behavior, including verbal abuse, death threats, threatening suicide, carrying a loaded gun around their home, and breaking possessions. The court documents filed by Sharon Bishop claimed that he was no longer taking his medications for severe depression. A judge ordered that the couple's assets be frozen and granted Sharon Bishop a domestic violence order of protection against Bishop on March 30, 2010 after Bishop had blocked his wife from having access to a marital bank account holding $150,000 and an investment account with over $2.8 million. On April 9, 2010 the order was voluntary dismissed by Bishop's wife. In March 2017 Bishop was awarded full custody of his two sons after his estranged wife had moved to Florida to receive treatment for alcoholism.[3]

Death and investigation[edit]

Bishop's Hope Valley home, where he was murdered.

On April 18, 2018 Bishop's 16-year-old son, Alexander, called police to report finding his father unconscious and strangled by a dog leash in the movie theater of their Hope Valley home.[5] He was taken to Duke University Hospital, where he died three days later.[6] A North Carolina medical examiner ruled Bishop's death a homicide and said the death was caused by strangulation. A homicide investigation began six days after Bishop was found. According to search warrants, Alexander Bishop, then a student at Durham Academy, called his mother five times before making the 9-1-1 call. Alexander Bishop told first responders that he found his father unconscious in their home, with the dog attached to a leash tangled around his neck.[7][4] The son also claimed that his father had been emotionally abusive his entire life.[4][8]

Alexander Bishop was indicted by a grand jury on February 18, 2019 on a charge of first-degree murder and was arrested four days later. He was released on an $250,000 unsecured bond on February 25, 2019.[9] A trial date has not been set.[10]


  1. ^ "Developer Bill Bishop created "walkable communities"". Tampa Bay Times.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ a b c "Warrants: Police believe Durham man may have been murdered :". May 23, 2018.
  5. ^ "Accused of killing his dad, Durham teen now looking to kick his grandma out of her home :". July 11, 2019.
  6. ^ "Teen Called 911 Claiming Multimillionaire Dad Choked on Dog Leash — Now He's Charged With Murder".
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Durham teen accused of killing his father released after judge sets $250K unsecured bond :". February 28, 2019.
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  10. ^ Leonard, Ben (November 30, 2019). "The Death Of Bill Bishop: Did The Dog Do It?". INDY Week.