QUINCY -- After three days and 19 witnesses, testimony has concluded in the judicial inquest into the fatal 1986 shooting of Seth Bishop by his sister, Amy.
Former Norfolk County assistant district attorney John Kivlan was the only witness to testify today in the closed-door hearings before Quincy District Court Judge Mark S. Coven.
US Representative William Delahunt, the district attorney at the time of the shooting, did not testify in court. The logistics of his testimony are still being worked out. One option is for Delahunt to be interviewed by State Police detectives who would then relay his testimony to the judge.
On his way into the courtroom this morning, Kivlan, now an aide in Delahunt's congressional office, said there were several unanswered questions about the investigation of the 1986 slaying. Those include why State Police were not promptly notified of the death, why troopers did not process the scene, and why Braintree police released Amy Bishop without charges, he said.
"Those are all questions the inquest might answer," he said.
Kivlan said both he and Delahunt thought the inquest "process was important."
Amy Bishop's killing of her brother drew renewed scrutiny after Bishop, 45, allegedly opened fire at a faculty meeting Feb. 12 at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, killing three people and injuring three others. Questions have been raised about the original finding that the shooting was an accident – and about the investigation that led to that conclusion.
According to police reports, Amy Bishop told police at the time of her brother's death that she had taken her father’s shotgun and loaded it, but couldn’t figure out how to unload the weapon. When she went to ask for help, Bishop told police, the gun accidentally went off, striking her brother in the chest. She then fled the Bishop home, tried to commandeer a car at gunpoint from an auto dealership, and trained the shotgun on police, who eventually persuaded her to drop the weapon, the reports say. Bishop was released within hours and never faced charges.
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