Victim's family 'outraged' after man who shot 12-year-old boy is pardoned
Michael Bishop was among nearly 200 people who received a pardon from former Governor Steve Beshear before he left office.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - The Louisville man who shot a 12-year-old boy in the back in 2011 has been pardoned.
The victim's family is calling former Governor Steve Beshear's decision "reckless."
Beshear granted nearly 200 pardons before leaving office, including Michael Bishop.
Police say Jacob Eberle, who was 12 at the time of the incident, had been playing the game 'ding-dong-ditch' with friends in the Glenmary neighborhood.
Eberle told investigators they were getting ready to ring Bishop's doorbell when he fired at them.
The boy was hit by more than 100 pellets from a shotgun blast
Eberle's family says the kids never even entered Bishop's yard.
The family released a statement Tuesday, saying they're outraged Bishop has been pardoned.
The statement also says, "After shooting Jacob in the back, and seeing Jacob fall to the ground, Mr. Bishop destroyed evidence, showered and then lied to the police while Jacob fought for his life."
The account of that night from Bishop's attorney, Brian Butler is very different.
"He thought someone was breaking into the house," Butler said. "He saw people running, he tried to scare - he was going to scare them off - and unfortunately, he didn't realize that he had a round chambered and fired a shot."
Bishop told investigators he went back into his home and went to bed, not knowing he had hit anyone until police arrived.
He entered an Alford Plea and maintained his innocence. He was given shock probation in 2012.
"He's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet," Butler said."He never, ever intended to hurt anyone that day. I know this has been a long, long journey for him."
We're told Bishop applied for the pardon. His felony record will now be erased.
Butler says he recently talked to Bishop's wife.
"Obviously. they were joyful," he said. "Very, very thankful."
The pardon has brought joy to one family and left questions for the other.
Eberle's family writes in the statement, "Governor Beshear recklessly granted a pardon without consulting the Eberle family, reviewing the facts, or notifying the victim. Pardons should reward those who redeem themselves after conviction with good deeds or to correct grave miscarriages of justice. Neither situation applies to Mr. Bishop."
Eberle's family says pardons cannot be challenged or reviewed.
Jacob is now a senior in high school and his family says he's doing well considering what he's been through.
Below is the full statement from Eberle's family:
The family of Jacob Eberle is outraged that Governor Beshear pardoned Michael Bishop. In June of 2011, Michael Bishop fired a shotgun at several boys, who did not enter his yard or ring his doorbell. After shooting Jacob in the back, and seeing Jacob fall to the ground, Mr. Bishop destroyed evidence, showered and then lied to the police while Jacob fought for his life. Governor Beshear recklessly granted a pardon without consulting the Eberle family, reviewing the facts, or notifying the victim. Pardons should reward those who redeem themselves after conviction with good deeds or to correct grave miscarriages of justice. Neither situation applies to Mr. Bishop. Mr. Bishop received red carpet treatment after his crime from the judicial and executive branches, from the exparte order lowering his bond from $50,000 to $10,000, to shock probation, and now the pardon. The Eberle family questions the motives and reasons for the pardon in light of the true facts. Unfortunately, Governor Beshear’s pardon cannot be challenged or reviewed as he betrayed all crime victims.
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