Hempfield teen convicted in brother's slaying paroled from state prison

Jan. 18—Ian Bishop, who was 14 when he bludgeoned his 18-year-old brother to death in the family's Hempfield home in 2002, is out of prison.

Bishop, now 35, was paroled Jan. 3, according to records made public by the Pennsylvania Parole Board. He served 21 years in prison.

Bishop was prosecuted as an adult for the brutal murder of his older brother, Adam, who police said was beaten to death with a claw hammer. At trial, prosecutors said Ian Bishop repeatedly beat the older boy in the head with the hammer before he moved his brother's body from a bedroom to a bathtub, then fled the family's home in the township's Bovard neighborhood to meet friends at Westmoreland Mall.

The teen was convicted in 2003 of third-degree murder and sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison.

According to parole board records, Bishop was denied release in 2021 after objections were filed by the Westmoreland County District Attorney's Office. No objections to Bishop's release were filed prior to Bishop's second parole board hearing in December.

Westmoreland County District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli did not respond to a request for comment.

A request for comment from Bishop and his parents was unsuccessful.

Karen and Jeffrey Bishop, the boys' parents, said in an interview last year they still supported their younger son. They said Ian Bishop received bachelor's and master's degrees while in prison and had published a children's novel he wrote behind bars.

In its ruling granting the release, the parole board said Bishop complied with and completed institutional programs, had positive behavior while in prison and was found not to be a risk to community safety. The board also found Bishop had a demonstrated motivation for success and accepted responsibility for his crime.

Bishop is required to remain under electronic monitoring for 45 days from the time of his release, and he must adhere to a curfew and obtain employment. He is barred from consuming alcohol or possessing weapons.

During a seven-day trial in the summer of 2003, prosecutors argued Bishop acted with a cold heart when he killed his brother during a violent confrontation that was apparently precipitated after the younger boy was disciplined by his parents.

Prosecutors presented evidence that Ian Bishop had a violent nature and was upset with his parents and brother over their attempts to keep him apart from his girlfriend.

Family tensions rose about a week before the murder when Ian Bishop shoved his mother to the floor and his father threw the boy against a wall, according to trial evidence.

Prosecutors said a second teen, then-15-year-old Robert Laskowski of Hempfield, participated in the murder. Laskowski, according to authorities, watched Ian Bishop attack his brother and helped the younger boy move the wounded older teen to a bathtub, where he was left to die.

Laskowski, now 35, pleaded guilty in 2004 to third-degree murder and was sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. He was paroled in 2010 and is serving a 10-year probation term.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich by email at rcholodofsky@triblive.com or via Twitter .