Norfolk County prosecutors have just announced that they have located the missing files in the 1986 shooting death of Seth Bishop by his sister, Amy Bishop. The Norfolk County district attorney now says that, after reviewing the files, he has concluded that probable cause existed in 1986 to arrest Amy Bishop and charge her with assault and weapons crimes. But, at the time, the death was declared accidental.
Here is the statement from the Norfolk District Attorney's Office:
"As a result of an internal audit of municipal records ordered by Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan over the weekend, today Mayor Sullivan and Braintree Police Officials hand-delivered to the Norfolk District Attorney's Office a substantial body of police reports, previously believed to be missing, relative to the 1986 shooting of Seth Bishop.
These reports have been reviewed by senior staff at the District Attorney's Office, including the Chief of Homicide, the Chief Appellate Attorney and a lieutenant detective of the State Police assigned to the Norfolk District Attorney's Detective Unit.
The District Attorney's Office is also in receipt of the State Police ballistics report relating to the shotgun that was used in the Dec. 6, 1986 shooting.
All of these documents are attached for your review, along with previously released documents.
The analysis of the newly received documents, as well as the previously released March 30, 1987 State Police report indicate that probable cause existed at that time to place Amy Bishop under arrest charged with:
Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, Chap. 265 Sec. 15B
Carrying a Dangerous Weapon, Chap. 269 Sec. 10, 12D
Unlawful possession of ammunition, Chap. 269 Ch. 10 (h)
The statute of limitations has run on all of those charges.
The reports supply significant additional details into the incident and the circumstances of the apprehension of Amy Bishop. The reports do not contradict the previously released information regarding the sole eye witness, the victim's mother, who told police at the time that she directly observed the shotgun in her daughter's hands discharge accidentally, striking and killing Seth Bishop.
Even if a Grand Jury were to hear allegations that this incident involved wanton and reckless conduct on the part of Amy Bishop -- the lowest standard for Manslaughter in Massachusetts -- the statute of limitations has barred indictment on that charge since 1992.
Mayor Sullivan stated: "On Monday, February 15, 2010 after a search of archived records, Chief Frazier located the Braintree Police reports written by officers involved with the incident. The reports were found among other investigative files maintained by a retired Braintree Police Captain." Mayor Sullivan further stated: "A review of Braintree municipal records also revealed that Amy Bishop's mother was one of 240 elected Town Meeting members. She represented Precinct 3 from 1980 to 1993. She served one year (1985) on the Braintree Arts Lottery Council, with her husband. There is no indication in town records that she served on the Personnel Board or any other elected or appointed office."
"I appreciate the work we were able to accomplish with District Attorney Keating throughout this matter and I believe our combined efforts are in the best interest of the town of Braintree," Mayor Sullivan said.
"Although the reports and my statements contain minor discrepancies, I am relieved that we now have the incident reports from the responding officers available to us," Chief Paul Frazier stated.
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