Bishop enters Alford plea in 'ding-dong-ditch' case


by Gene Kang

Posted on July 26, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 26 at 2:27 PM

(WHAS11) -- The man accused of shooting a Fern Creek boy during a game of ding-dong-ditch entered an Alford plea with the Commonwealth Attorney.

Michael Bishop was charged after police said he shot Jacob Eberle in June of 2011 while Eberle was playing "ding-dong-ditch" in the Glenmary neighborhood.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison right after his plea deal and apologized to the family.

"I apologize from the bottom of my heart for what happened," Bishop said.

But an apology was not enough for Jacob Eberle and his family in court.

"Mr. Bishop is a very good man who did a very, very bad thing," Judge A.C. McKay Chauvin said.

Jacob Eberle sat with his family behind Bishop.

Eberle, 12-years-old at the time of the shooting, his younger brother and two friends were accused of ringing Bishop's doorbell and running. Bishop fired as the boys ran away, hitting Eberle. Eberle was injured - bird shot lodged in his neck, jaw, arm and back.
His family's life changed forever.

"There's nothing that justifies shooting a child in the back, running away from you," Jacob’s father, John Eberle, said.

Bishop's was sentenced to 10 years for charges of assault under extreme emotional disturbance, wanton endangerment and tampering with physical evidence. he can request a hearing for shock probation in 100 days. If granted, he could meet with a parole board after only two years.

“A man that would do this, I wouldn't agree is a good man. I agree he wasn't a criminal before he did this, but I can't say he was a good man," prosecutor Leland Hulbert said.

Alex Dathorne, Bishop's lawyer, responded: "Mr. Bishop I find to be an incredibly good man of good character and good moral fiber. But whatever happened that night, I wasn't there, poor decision making."

Bishop is now behind bars. Eberle's family left scarred but said Jacob has the determination to move on.

"He's taking it day by day. Just the fact that he's here. He just made the Trinity golf team. It looks bright from here," Jacob’s mother, Jennifer Eberle, said.

Legally, the judge said he will take a request for shock probation in 30 to 180 days.
But it will happen most likely in 100 days. That's when Eberle's family will make their arguments against it.