GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A former Marshall County pharmacist received a sentence of 21 years in prison Friday for illegally distributing pills to a woman in exchange for sex.
Judge Samuel Monk sentenced Timothy Bishop to seven years for each of three convictions of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance and dispensing a controlled substance without a prescription, with the three sentences to run consecutively.
He faced up 20 years for each charge, and prosecutors asked for a hefty punishment.
Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall referred to scripture as he addressed Judge Monk in the sentencing hearing. He quoted Luke 14:28, in which Jesus said:
"From the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded." (NRSV)
Marshall told the court Bishop should be held to a higher standard since he was a licensed pharmacist who was at one time president of the Alabama Board of Pharmacy.
"This was a man that we trusted to do the right thing," Marshall said.
"To some extent I think we are saying we should treat him differently with regard to the nature of sentence because of what he has been blessed with in the past, and that is the ability to practice pharmacy."
Prosecutors said Bishop is the worst kind of drug dealer because of his abuse of trust.
Before Judge Monk issued the sentence, Bishop made a brief statement.
"I appreciate the attitude and opportunity to talk to the jury. I appreciate the courts. I am sorry i have put the state of Alabama and citizens of Marshall County through this," he said.
The district attorney and members of his staff scoffed at the comments.
"That's offensive," Marshall said.
"This is a man who has still to this day not accepted responsibility for what were overwhelming facts of his guilt. He continues to try to perpetrate a fraud on the court."
Prosecutors said Bishop thought justice was for sale and could pay the best lawyer, but that he learned the hard way the judicial system applies to him just as it does anyone else.
"If you're going to come into the courtroom, we expect you to respect the integrity of the system as a whole, which is to tell the truth and allow the jury to do its job," Marshall said.
"His arrogance overcame him and he's simply unwilling to acknowledge what he's done is wrong. The jury found he did. The judge found he did. He's been sentenced accordingly."
During the December 2012 trial, Courtney Williams testified she traded sex with Bishop for prescription medication, which Bishop continued to deny.
Employees at Bishop’s Pharmacy in Scant City contacted Arab Police in September 2010 after they saw Bishop put some pills in a bag and take it outside the pharmacy.
Drug investigators set up surveillance and caught Williams with the drugs, and Williams said Bishop gave her pills like Lortab and Xanax in exchange for sex.
Bishop is not eligible for an appeal bond, since the sentence is over 20 years.
The jury foreman from Bishop's trial was at Friday morning's hearing.
Prosecutors said it is unusual for jurors to return for sentencing, but the man said he wanted to see the trial's conclusion.
He said he was pleased with the judge's ruling.