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Decatur man convicted of killing wife sentenced to life in prison

A jury found James Beard guilty of murdering Angela Bishop in 2017.

DECATUR, Ga. — Note: The video at the top of this story is regarding efforts to prosecute domestic violence cases in Atlanta.

A man convicted for shooting and killing his wife near their four children will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

James Beard was sentenced to life in prison on Nov. 5 shortly after a jury found him guilty of felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of felony charges, according to a release from the DeKalb County District Attorney's Office. Beard was originally arrested in connection to the murder of Angela Bishop.

Bishop died on March 31, 2017 at a Decatur apartment complex where Beard lived. She and Beard had been in a relationship for more than 13 years and had four children together, according to the release.

Authorities said Beard moved to Georgia a few years before Bishop's death. Bishop and the children primarily lived in South Carolina and would travel to Georgia to visit Beard.

Court documents reveal Beard had been arrested twice in South Carolina on domestic violence charges. Bishop told family members Beard had also threatened her with a gun, according to investigators.

A few weeks before Bishop's death, she and the 46-year-old married, records show.

She was visiting Bishop in Decatur when she knocked on his apartment door and he greeted her with a gun, investigators said. Beard shot his 38-year-old wife while the children were waiting in her vehicle downstairs, authorities said.

Investigators said Beard then carried Bishop's lifeless body downstairs and asked a bystander to call 911 while throwing the gun behind the apartment building. Law enforcement officers were able to later recover the weapon.

DeKalb Family and Children Services were contacted. 

Police said the children were turned over to a relative who lives in Grayson until Bishop's relatives in South Carolina were able to pick them up. The district attorney's office did not clarify where the children are now living.

Beard was sentenced to life in prison for his actions plus five years, three of which would be served in custody, according to the district attorney's office.

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