LIFE IN PRISON FOR MAN CONVICTED IN MURDER OF WIFE
Victim Gunned Down While Children Waited in Nearby Car
Decatur, Ga.- DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston announces a conviction by jury trial in the murder case against a Decatur man accused of shooting and killing his wife while their four children were waiting in the car. Jurors returned guilty verdicts Friday, November 5 against 46-year-old James Beard on charges of Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony in connection with the shooting death of 38-year-old Angela Bishop.
The fatal incident occurred on March 31, 2017 at the apartment complex where Defendant Beard lived, located in the 2900 block of Panthersville Road in Decatur. Bishop and Beard had been in a relationship for more than 13 years and had four children together. The victim and children resided in South Carolina. Beard moved to Georgia the previous year during a break in the relationship. When the relationship resumed, Bishop began traveling to Georgia with the children to visit their father.
According to the investigation, there had been violent incidents throughout the course of the couple’s relationship. Defendant Beard was arrested twice in South Carolina on charges related to domestic violence, and the victim told members of her family that Beard had threatened her with a gun. A few weeks before the murder, Beard and Bishop married suddenly, surprising those who knew them. Bishop shared with family that she felt she had made a mistake.
On the day of the fatal incident, Bishop traveled to Georgia with the children. When they arrived, she knocked on the door of Beard’s second floor apartment, he opened the door, and he shot her. Defendant Beard carried Bishop down the stairs, asked a bystander to call 911, and threw the gun behind the apartment building. The children were waiting in the car for their mother.
Following his conviction, Defendant Beard was sentenced to life in prison plus five years to serve three in custody by DeKalb Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson.
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Drew Healy, with assistance from Senior ADA Dionne McGee, DA Investigator Genard Tindal, and Victim Advocate Shelbie Rainwater. Detective B.R. Smith of the DeKalb County Police Department led the initial investigation.