BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ)–Walter Bishop Jr. will likely die in prison, but he will not be put to death.  A sentence has been set for the man convicted of carrying out a murder-for-hire plot.

Weijia Jiang has details on the sentence and reaction to it.

The same jury that convicted 29-year-old Walter Bishop Jr. of capital murder spared his life–rejecting the death penalty prosecutors pushed for. Jurors sentenced him to life in prison with the possibility of parole for killing Towson gas station owner William Ray Porter in March 2010.

His defense attorney sobbed tears of joy in court.

“We’re very relieved,” said Stefanie McArdie, Bishop’s attorney. “Obviously there’s a victim’s family here, and this was a tragedy. We believe in what we told the jury. This was a complete aberration.  Our client had no criminal history. Everybody who knew him was absolutely shocked. And we don’t think he’ll be a future danger. I think it’s an appropriate sentence. And like I said, we’re very relieved.” 

Emotions also ran high for the victim’s family, who hoped for a death sentence. 

“It’s just been very difficult.  That’s obvious. We appreciate all the support we’ve gotten and the job that’s been done,” said Richard Porter, victim’s brother.

The key piece of evidence in this case was a videotaped confession, which made Bishop eligible for the death penalty. But the recording may have also saved him from an execution.

Jurors were convinced of Bishop’s story that he was manipulated by the victim’s wife Karla Porter, who stands accused of setting up the murder-for-hire plot.

Jurors gave several other reasons Bishop doesn’t deserve to die: that he has no criminal past, he acted under duress, lacked family support,  had a mental illness and drug addiction.

“Disappoint is not the right word,” said John Cox, Baltimore County Assistant State’s Attorney. “We had a fair trial, so I’m happy that we had that opportunity.”

Bishop also faced charges of conspiracy and handgun possession. Before the judge punished him for those charges, Bishop said, “I’m not the villain or monster the state’s making me out to be. I don’t feel I have to die in prison for what I did.”

The judge clearly disagreed. He gave Bishop another life sentence, plus 20 years. Those charges will run consecutively. Still, Bishop will have a chance at parole in 40-50 years.

Karla Porter’s trial has been moved to Carroll County. It will begin sometime next year.

Comments (25)
  1. Fred says:

    Will Ray be able to come back? We will have to feed and suport this low life for years now. I knew Ray and he would give you the shirt off his back.
    He tried to get out of town . That’s why he asked for the monety at the funeral home. while Ray’s body was there. That’s how they were caught.

    1. Fred says:

      Sorry about the spelling. This was written at a very upsetting time.

    2. Leonard says:

      Fred that is disgusting!!!!!! I didn’t realize how low down this character is! It’s hard to find any fairness when a stand up guy is murdered and this guys life is spared over a bunch of sorry excuses when the only sorry excuse is him.

  2. Stupidity Rules says:

    So much for justice. The American justice system is set up for the criminal and the rights of the criminal not the victim or the rights of the victim.

  3. Colliemom says:

    I can’t believe a man who was ready and willing and able to look another person in the eye and shoot them in the head (for money yet) was granted the possibility of parole. What’s the old saying – believe somebody the first time they show you who they are? He will be willing and able to do this (or other horrible crimes) when released. He should have been locked away for the rest of his life to protect us; this makes no sense at all.

  4. Dave says:

    He’s only sorry for being caught!!!! He he was haunted day and hight then he would have not fought the deathe penalty. Hell if he was really sorry would there ever even been I trilal?

  5. Dave says:

    sorry for typos I am angry too

  6. Scott Anthony Grove says:

    you know something just like you knew ray,i know walter and his family and yes he did pull the trigger and yes it was for money but money to feed his children because he could not find a job for so long.he is not that kind of person to just go and do something like that.he has never been like that and i know that from knowing him and his family,i was with his step sister for three years and had a child with her and all she talked about him was nothing but good as well as his mother and his step sisters father.he was never like this once in his life and times are hard now to get a job and he was desperate even though it was the wrong choice.i know that if there was ever a chance to take back what happened he would.i know for a fact that this is eating him up inside as well as it tears apart the close friends and family of Ray.

    1. Stupidity Rules says:

      He should have killed himself and left something to take care of the kids instead of being the trigger man in a murder for hire plot. There are too many other ways to get help. Where are his kids now and what are they going to do with him gone. There is NO excuse for his actions.

      1. cms827 says:

        Absolutely no excuses, he didnt have a job so he killed someone that makes sense,,,, times are hard for alot of people, he is worthless and I for one am tired of having to foot the bill for these low lifes that will get a degree in prision while my husband and I are in debt forever paying our kids college tuitions. Most people don’t get 3 meals a day but these pieces of trash will……thanks Gov.Owemalley

      2. Gary says:


    2. speechless says:

      @Scott, you cannot be serious.It takes a inhumane sick monster to do what your friend did.He has no regard for human life,which is the reason he took one away.How dare you disrespect the victims family by defending this man.He did it because he couldn’t find a job is b.s. and its not making me feel any sympathy for this man.Out of desperation he killed another human being so that his family could eat.Seems like he’s willing to do whatever for his family.Even kill a man.This just proves that he is a major threat to society

    3. Don't think so says:

      Scott – I can’t believe you even wrote this, much less actually believe it. To claim it was all right because he needed cash is even more ridiculous. So, if I need money, it’s all right to go kill someone? And thento think he NOW understands it was a mistake so he wouldn’t do it again? Don’t think so. This is as crazy as his actions; scares me to think there are people who have any excuse for him.

  7. Robertryan says:

    He will get bung holed so much in prison he will wish he were dead the POS.

  8. Pro death penalty says:

    Scott…..Ray murdered a human being in cold blood, now you want to shed a tear for him. A lot of people are unemployed and have nothing, but they don’t murder someone for money. Get real.

  9. Pro Death Penalty says:

    Sorry….Walter not Ray.

  10. Leonard says:

    My dad beat my butt, once I got a whipping that left bleeding whelps uh uh I was 8-9 years old. My dog died when I was 20, and I get depressed. So if I go out and kill someone I should be allowed to live? I’m sorry, if a man takes part in a plan to end someones life, I feel his life should be sacrificed as well. Even in jail every day has the potential for a little bit of joy whether it be a game of spades or solitaire. Theres a chance to enjoy a meal even if it’s meatloaf and gravy half cold, but there is nothing for the murder victim. This shouldn’t be! if it’s not a clear cut case of self defense this just shouldn’t be.

  11. JW says:

    Let the victims or victims family dish out the punishment to this POS and save all of us taxpayers the time and trouble dealing with Maryland “catch and Release” programs. He’ll be out in 10 to 12 years if not.

    Or let’s have public hangings….charge admission,sell drinks,tailgating…….and the proceeds go to the victims.

  12. Sharon says:

    Not being able to find a job is no excuse for killing a man for money. If he has a family, you can go to Social Services to get help to feed your children. There is absolutely no excuse for what he did and he needs to be held liable.

  13. T says:

    Ok first – the Gov isn’t to blame for this sentence, and the judicial system didn’t fail. In fact, it worked perfectly, we just don’t agree with what the jury decided, or their basis for deciding it.

    There are NO excuses for this mans actions. None. Money to feed ones children doesn’t equate to choosing to be a hired assassin. Scott, that’s one hell of a leap of logic. Those dots simply don’t connect. No family support system? Well I don’t have one either and I’m a law abiding citizen. Mental illness? WHAT mental illness? Was there a diagnosis? If so, why wasn’t an insanity plea entered? Clearly he’s sane enough to make choices, he just chose a horrible one. Manipulated? No way. We CHOOSE everything we do. Others only control us if we allow it (and that’s NOT a mental illness, it too is a choice).

    This sentence sucks. He’ll get paroled and go on to commit more crimes. Why? Because a jury in his murder case taught him that the consequences aren’t so bad.

  14. urnotfunny says:

    Poor victim. I hope the wife gets the death penalty for setting the poor man up to be killed. To think the idiot Bishop killed him in cold blood and then gets a chance for parole one day, no justice.

  15. Equal crimes says:

    No death penalty because he’s a white who killed another white. There was a good reason that Governor O’Malley imposed a moratorium on the carrying out of death sentences: only blacks who killed whites were being put to death. This was especially true in Baltimore County. A county notorius for unqual death penalty senstences.

  16. PAUL E. MICELLI says:

    He should be Executed for his CRIME! He planned and murdered an innocent human being and he should pay the ultimate price. . .DEATH BY EXECUTION!

    1. Gary says:

      Dam Right Paul!!!! How can this Jury or Public Defenders( Idiots) sleep at night! If it was their Son,Husband,Father or Brother I bet they would feel different!

  17. moleman says:

    He goes free while the spook that killed the blonde is found guilty of 1st degree murder. Even I say this is sooooo wrong!

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