QUINCY – Judith Bishop appeared today for the second time before the judicial inquest investigating how her daughter, Amy, shot her son, Seth, to death with her husband's shotgun in 1986.
Judith Bishop was in the family's home when the shooting occurred on Dec. 6, 1986, and her statements afterward helped convince Braintree police and then-Norfolk District Attorney William R. Delahunt that the fatal gunfire was an accident, not a criminal act.
The investigation into Seth Bishop's death was given renewed scrutiny this year after Amy Bishop, 45, was charged with killing three colleagues and injuring three others in a shooting rampage at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in February.
Judith Bishop first appeared before the inquest, being held behind closed doors at Quincy District Court, early Tuesday morning when District Court Judge Mark S. Coven began the inquiry.
She returned to the courthouse this afternoon and spent an undisclosed length of time answering questions, according to two people who have been briefed on the inquest but are not authorized to speak.
Bishop stepped out of a side door of the building, accompanied by her attorney and an unidentified man. She did not speak with reporters who have camped outside the courthouse.
Judith Bishop was among the last witnesses to appear before Coven. Former Braintree Police Chief John Polio, whose handling of the investigation has come under fire from Delahunt and his former top prosecutor, John Kivlan, also testified.
"We were told not to discuss it by the judge,'' Polio said outside the court this afternoon. "Otherwise, I would have plenty to say."
Earlier today, a man whom Amy Bishop menaced after she shot her brother urged the public to remember Bishop's brother and the people she is accused of killing in Alabama.
Thomas Pettigrew spoke with reporters at Quincy District Court after he testified for about 30 minutes before a judicial inquest into the Dec. 6, 1986, killing of Seth Bishop, who was 18.
"Let's just not forget the people in Alabama and Seth,'' Pettigrew said. "This should be more about them than me or anyone else.''
After Bishop shot her brother inside their family's home on Hollis street in Braintree, she ran to a nearby Ford dealership where she confronted Pettigrew and his co-worker, Jeff Doyle.
"She pointed the gun at us,'' Pettigrew said. "We ran away.''
He said he and Doyle watched Braintree police arrest her. Coven is expected to addressed why no criminal charges were filed against Bishop for pointing a shotgun at Pettigrew and Doyle.
Coven has heard from about a dozen witnesses over the past two days. Tomorrow is expected to be the final date for taking live testimony and may include the rare instance of a sitting US congressman appearing before a judicial proceeding.
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