Amy Bishop will not be prosecuted for allegedly murdering her brother, Seth, inside the family’s Braintree home in 1986, a death that was first dismissed as an accident but was later called a homicide, Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said today.
Earlier this week, Bishop was sentenced to life without parole in Alabama after she pleaded guilty to murdering her colleagues during a faculty meeting at the University of Alabama’s Huntsville campus.
Morrissey said in a statement that because Bishop is now scheduled to end her life behind bars, the first-degree murder charge she faced here will not be actively pursued.
“We will not move to have her returned to Massachusetts,’’ Morrissey said. “The penalty we would seek for a first-degree murder conviction is already in place.
Morrissey said his office early next week will file what is known as a “nolle prosequi” which would allow prosecutors to revive the first-degree murder charge against her “if circumstances change.’’
Morrissey said he talked with his counterpart in Alabama, Madison County District Attorney Robert Broussard, before making his decision and is now convinced that Bishop is unlikely to ever be released from custody.
“With a life-without-parole sentence in place, there is not an issue of public safety,’’ Morrissey said. “In almost all cases, guilty pleas mark the end of the process and the conviction is not vulnerable to being overturned on appeal.’’
Amy Bishop used her father’s shotgun to kill her younger brother in front of her mother, Judith, on Dec. 6, 1986. She ran from the family’s home, still armed with the firearm.
As Braintree police rushed to the shooting scene, Bishop ran to a nearby car dealership where she tried to commandeer a car at gunpoint.
She was then taken into custody by Braintree police, taken back to the station, but released by police within 20 minutes into the custody of her parents. No criminal charges were filed at the time, but the Alabama killings sparked an inquest into Seth Bishop’s killing, which led to the first degree murder charge.
According to portions of the inquest testimony that has been made public, Braintree and State Police never shared information about the incident with each other. The testimony of the Braintree police chief at the time, John V. Polio, has been sealed. Polio has since died.
Bishop’s parents testified during the inquest and insisted that the death of their son was a horrific accident, not a crime, according to transcripts of their testimony.John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.