Long before prominent Hillsborough County developer Bill Bishop died mysteriously at his North Carolina home, his wife had complained in court that he was abusive and threatening toward her and their two sons.
Sharon Bishop sought court-ordered protection from her husband in 2010, according to a report from the Durham, N.C., Herald Sun. In a petition, she described fits of rage and threats to kill family members. She also claimed her husband had started carrying a loaded gun around, and telling the boys it was "so mommy won't call the police on me again."
Those and other details are likely elements of a Durham Police investigation of Bill Bishop's death. His 16-year-old son reported finding him dead April 18 in their home, with a dog leash wrapped around his neck and the dog still attached. He died in a hospital three days later.
Police have focused their investigation on the son, who reportedly told first responders his father was emotionally abusive to him and his mother and he was "relieved that his father was gone," according to a search warrant filed in North Carolina.
Bill Bishop, 59, was a well-known developer in Hillsborough County. He helped design several local walkable suburban neighborhoods, including WestChase.
In 2008, he moved with his family to Durham, N.C. When he died, he was days away from receiving his Ph.D. in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill.
Last year, he and his wife divorced. Bill Bishop successfully argued for full custody of their two teenage sons, the Herald Sun reported.
The report details other newly filed court documents, which state that police found a safe inside the Bishop home, which was said to contain $50,000 in gold and $75,000 in jewelry. A search of the son's phone showed he searched for financial information, how to calculate the value of an estate, the value of gold, and how to transfer bank accounts after death.