The North Carolina teen who said he found his father with a dog leash wrapped around his neck last April has now been charged in the man's death. Bill Bishop, 59, died three days after son Alexander found him unresponsive and with ligature marks around his neck from the leash—to which the dog was still attached. Bishop's death was deemed a homicide by strangulation. On Friday, Alexander Bishop, 16, was arrested and charged with murder; he was released Monday after his first court appearance, in which a judge set a $250,000 unsecured bond, WRAL reports. Bishop, a well-known developer, was worth about $5.5 million, and authorities say his son's cellphone was used to look up information on how to calculate the value of an estate and how to transfer bank accounts after someone dies.
At the preliminary hearing, Alexander Bishop's attorney insisted his client is innocent, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. "He has never even had a discipline problem," the lawyer said. "He is a kid who lost his father, and this has been the hardest year of his life." He also said a pathologist hired by Bishop's family disputed the ruling of the death as a homicide; another attorney representing Bill Bishop's sons in estate-related matters has said the family believes Bishop died of a heart attack. Court documents indicate a rift, with Bill Bishop's girlfriend on one side, and his sons and ex-wife on the other side. Their divorce had been finalized about two weeks before his death. (Much more on the case, including Alexander Bishop's reaction to his father's death and claims of emotional abuse at the hands of his dad, here.)