Man accused of shooting a 12-year-old playing a prank goes to court

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by Gene Kang

WHAS11.com

Posted on June 17, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 17 at 12:36 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)-  A neighborhood prank in Louisville ended with a shooting.  It is the first time Michael Bishop faced a judge, after allegedly shooting at a group of boys playing a prank.

Bishop had nothing to say in the courtroom and let his lawyers come to his defense, while a
boy recovers from pellet wounds at Kosair Children’s Hospital.

Bishop anxiously walked into court, armed with a powerful legal team. The 56-year-old pleaded not guilty to an attempted murder charge.

He is accused of shooting 12-year-old Jacob Eberle in the back. The boy was transferred out of the critical care unit but is still at Kosair.

Meanwhile, Bishop was ordered to surrender any firearms from his house and is not supposed to make contact with Jacob or his family.

A motion to ban Bishop from his own home in the Glenmary subdivision was denied by the judge.

"I'm going to deny the motion that he be basically barred from his residence. Mr. Bishop you have very good lawyers and I want you to pay close attention to their advice," said David Bowles, Jefferson County judge.

Jacob had surgery to remove a pellet from near his colon. His uncle said dozens of other birdshot pellets are lodged in his jaw, neck, arm and back.

Jacob and a group of boys attempted to ring doorbells and run away when police said Bishop fired at the group of boys, hitting Jacob.

His lawyers said the man was sleeping and did not know who was outside and he felt threatened. Bishop’s lawyers say Bishop expressed deep concern for the boy.

"We're talking about a man in his mid-50's who has never had a speeding ticket his entire life and in a snapshot of a moment,” said Alex Dathorne, one of Bishop’s lawyers.  “He's been arrested and charged with attempted murder. I don't believe that Mr. Bishop intended to hurt anyone that evening and I would think that murder charge to be a remarkable charge if that stayed in place."

Jacob’s uncle, Bart McMahon, who happens to be an attorney, said Jacob is more alert now. He said Jacob took a forensic exam and even gave a statement to a detective on Thursday.

"All I can see is my nephew sitting in his hospital bed and suffering terribly right now," said McMahon. "My concern here today is to give Jacob a voice here in the proceeding and to let everyone know he is getting better and the family really appreciates the support."

A grand jury is expected to review the case and decide exactly what charges Bishop would ultimately face. Bishop has a hearing in court in July.

Meantime, Jacob's family filed a civil lawsuit for his emotional and physical trauma and damages.

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