The former prosecutor who reviewed a State Police report ruling that Amy Bishop's 1986 shooting of her brother was an accident said today that the trooper in charge of the investigation should have insisted on getting local police reports from Braintree that could have shed a different light on the case.
"At no time did [Trooper Brian L. Howe], his supervisor or anyone else tell me that they had been unable to obtain the Braintree Police reports, nor did Trooper Howe state that in his formal report to our office," John Kivlan said in an emailed statement. "Had Trooper Howe told me ... he would know that this would not have been acceptable to me and it should not have been acceptable to him."
Howe said in today's Globe that he repeatedly asked for the Braintree Police reports but never got them and ultimately closed the case, ruling the shooting an accident, without reviewing them.
The 1986 shooting -- and the investigation of it by Braintree Police, State Police, and prosecutors working in the office of then-Norfolk District Attorney William Delahunt -- has been under new scrutiny because Bishop, now 45, allegedly went on a shooting rampage at the University of Alabama Huntsville last month, killing three people.
The current Norfolk district attorney, William R. Keating, last week initiated a judicial inquest into the 1986 case, saying that investigators had discovered evidence they say suggests Amy Bishop may have intentionally shot her brother.
Kivlan was Delahunt's first assistant in 1986 and reviewed the report prepared by Howe saying that the shooting was an accident. Delahunt is now a Congressman; Kivlan works in his office as special counsel.
The local police reports and crime photos, which were missing for years and only discovered since the Alabama shooting, would have shown that after Bishop shot her brother with a 12-gauge shotgun on Dec. 6, 1986, she allegedly tried to commandeer a getaway car at gunpoint from an auto dealership and refused to drop her rifle when confronted by police. Keating said his investigators also recently enlarged crime scene photos and, next to 12-gauge ammunition in Bishop's bedroom, found a news article that chronicled a crime spree similar to Bishop's actions on the day of her brother's death. He said the story could reflect Bishop's intent.
Howe told the Globe he wasn't sure if he had told Kivlan that he was having trouble getting the police reports from Braintree. But he said Kivlan would have known they were missing because "there were no reports in the file."
Kivlan said that if the State Police had concluded the shooting was an accident "I would have no reason to ask to look at the master file. Accordingly, I would have no way of knowing, unless Trooper Howe or his supervisor told me, that they were unable to obtain the Braintree Police reports."
He said if he had been informed that Braintree wasn't cooperating, he would have had a grand jury issue a summons to police to compel them to produce the reports before a grand jury.
Donovan Slack and Shelley Murphy of the Globe staff cotnributed to this report.
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