Bieber is originally from Fort Myers, Florida, the son of a middle school principal. After leaving school, he was briefly a US Marine before being discharged for going AWOL.
Bieber became a drug dealer and bodybuilder. On February 9, 1995 a fellow bodybuilder, Markus Mueller, was shot in Fort Myers. Police arrested Bieber, thinking he had hired a hitman, but later released him due to lack of evidence. In November 1995, Bieber's former girlfriend Michelle Marsh was attacked by the same gunman who had attacked Mueller. All four shots missed. Bieber fled the state, assuming the identity of Nathan Wayne Coleman through stealing the identity of a child who had died in 1975, and escaped the country in 1996.
Bieber entered the United Kingdom on September 26, 1996 through the port of Ramsgate, Kent using the false passport. He was given a six-month visa, but it was extended until his marriage to Denise Horsley in Kendal, Cumbria in March 1997.
In 1998, Bieber arrived in Yorkshire, where he worked as a nightclub doorman. He also acquired an arsenal of illegal firearms. In 2001 his wife petitioned for divorce and a decree absolute was granted on May 5, 2002.
On December 26, 2003, on the border between the Gipton and Oakwood areas of Leeds, traffic policemen Ian Broadhurst and Neil Roper saw Bieber's stolen BMW car parked at the junction of Grange Park Avenue and Dib Lane, where Bieber had just been into the adjacent post office. They identified the number plates as false, and asked him to accompany them to the police car, where Bieber sat in the back seat. The officers were uneasy and so called for backup which they received from colleague James Banks.
Roper then moved to handcuff Bieber, who – facing imprisonment for various offences in the UK and possible extradition to Florida – drew a 9 mm handgun and fired an initial four shots at the unarmed police officers, who tried to flee. Roper was hit twice in the shoulder and abdomen, but managed to get away. Broadhurst was shot once in the back and immobilized. Banks escaped injury after a bullet hit his radio. Bieber then walked over to where Broadhurst was lying, and fired a fifth shot into his head at point blank range. It was the first fatal shooting of an English police officer for over eight years – preceded by that of PC Philip Walter of the Metropolitan Police, who was shot dead on 18 April 1995.
After the shootings, Bieber escaped down Dib Lane, and stole a car at gunpoint outside a betting shop further down the road. This caused some confusion in initial news reports of the shootings, which state that the shooting itself happened outside the betting shop.
Following the shootings West Yorkshire Police launched a nationwide search for Bieber led by Detective Chief Supt Chris Gregg. On December 27, 2003 Bieber took a taxi journey in Bradford, and on December 28 armed police raided Bieber's apartment in Leeds.
Bieber was arrested by armed police at the Royal Hotel in Dunston, Gateshead at 2.25am on December 31. He had dyed his hair ginger. Under his bed, he had a loaded pistol which was later determined to be the weapon used in the shooting, along with around 300 rounds of ammunition. The next day, he was charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder.
The trial was held at Newcastle Crown Court and ended on 2 December 2004. Bieber denied murder, two counts of attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and possession of two hundred 9 mm pistol rounds found in a storage shed. Bieber admitted possession of 298 9mm rounds, found when arrested, without a firearms certificate.
The prosecution presented evidence from witnesses, identification of Bieber's voice and DNA evidence.
Bieber's defence was that the culprit was his friend who looked like him, also from Florida, that committed the offences and had asked him to look after the murder weapon. Bieber said he could not name this friend for fear of reprisals.
Bieber was convicted on one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
The judge, Mr Justice Moses, told Bieber he had shown "no remorse or understanding of the brutality" of his crime, and the aggravating feature in the case was that Bieber did not need to shoot Broadhurst through the head, noting:
You had already disabled him and he was defenceless. You could have escaped then but you chose to wait and fire a second shot at point blank range. To shoot and kill an officer in such circumstances, doing no more than trying to serve us all, is an attack on all of us. It must be acknowledged that he might have died as a result of your first shot, but you made certain of his death.
Bieber was given three life sentences. The judge recommended that Bieber should never be released, making him only the 25th person in British legal history to be recommended for lifelong imprisonment. It was the first time such a recommendation had been made since the Home Secretary lost his power to set minimum terms.
Should he be released, the State of Florida, where he faces charges relating to the murder of Markus Mueller and the attempted murder of former girlfriend Michelle Marsh in 1995, has said it would seek his extradition, though he could not face the death penalty due to extradition treaties.
On 24 October 2006, the Appeal Court rejected a bid from Bieber for his convictions to be overturned, but ruled that he could appeal against the trial judge's recommendation that he should never be released.
In February 2007, it was announced that Bieber's sentence appeal would be delayed due to a European Court of Human Rights review on whether lifelong imprisonment is a violation of human rights. In January 2012, the ECHR, by a 4-3 majority, held that there was no such violation.
Later in 2007, it was reported that Bieber was involved in an escape plot with two other prisoners, which was foiled.
On 23 July 2008, Bieber was told by the High Court that he would not have to serve a whole life term, as originally recommended by the trial judge, but would still have to serve a minimum of 37 years before being considered for parole, meaning that he is set to remain in prison until at least 2041 and the age of 75. His lawyers had made a successful appeal on the basis that the sentence amounted to 'inhuman treatment', which Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation, described as "[leaving] the judiciary with blood on its hands".