THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Ala. seeking death penalty in Bishop case

Insanity defense being considered

Amy Bishop appeared in an Alabama court in March 2010. Amy Bishop appeared in an Alabama court in March 2010. (Eric Schultz/Huntsville Times)
By Travis Andersen
Globe Staff / May 26, 2011

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Alabama prosecutors will seek the death penalty in the Amy Bishop case, her attorney confirmed last night.

Bishop’s lawyer, Roy W. Miller of Huntsville, Ala., said in a phone interview that Madison County District Attorney Robert L. Broussard said during a court proceeding about a month ago that he would seek the death penalty.

Broussard could not be reached for comment last night. He confirmed Miller’s account yesterday in an interview with The Huntsville Times.

“That of course does not come as any great surprise,’’ Miller said.

Bishop is accused of shooting and killing three fellow professors during a Feb. 12, 2010, faculty meeting at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, after she was denied tenure as a biology professor. She is also accused of shooting and wounding three other faculty members.

Miller declined to discuss the case last night, citing a gag order imposed by the judge. Before the order was issued, he told the Globe that he would pursue an insanity defense.

“I don’t think there are any other options much available,’’ he said in February, adding that Bishop did not recall the shootings shortly after her arrest. “It’s not a whodunit.’’

He said last night that he meets with Bishop regularly, but declined to discuss her state of mind.

Bishop also shot and killed her brother, Seth, at their home in Braintree in 1986. The shooting was ruled accidental by police, but current Chief Paul Frazier, in a Feb. 14, 2010, press conference, said the investigation was mishandled and swept under the rug by the department, possibly because Bishop’s mother was a town official and told police the shooting was an accident.

In June, the Norfolk district attorney’s office, which reopened the case amid the scrutiny, had Bishop indicted on charges of first-degree murder. David Traub, a spokesman for the district attorney, said in an e-mail that prosecutors in Massachusetts will determine the right course of action when Bishop’s case in Alabama is resolved.

The Globe reported a pattern of odd behavior by Bishop in the years after the killing of her brother. In 1993, Bishop and her husband, James Anderson, were suspects in an attempted bombing at the Newton home of Dr. Paul Rosenberg, a Harvard Medical School professor and physician at Children’s Hospital Boston. They were never charged.

Calls to numbers listed for Anderson in Huntsville and for Bishop’s parents, Judith and Samuel, in Ipswich were not returned last night. An attorney for Bishop’s parents, Bryan J. Stevens of Quincy, could not be reached for comment.

John M. Guilfoil and Maria Cramer of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com.