BOSTON – BOSTON (AP) — A grand jury has been convened in Massachusetts to hear evidence in the 1986 shooting death of the brother of a former university professor accused in Alabama of killing three colleagues.
Retired Braintree police chief John Polio told The Associated Press on Friday that he and his wife, who worked in an administrative position in the police department, have been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury investigating the case against Amy Bishop in Norfolk Superior Court next week. A spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney's office wouldn't comment.
Bishop, who lived with her family in Braintree, a Boston suburb, shot her brother dead in their home. The death of Seth Bishop, 18, originally was ruled an accident. But authorities began investigating the case again after Amy Bishop was charged in a Feb. 12 rampage at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, where she was a biology professor. Three of Bishop's colleagues died.
Prosecutors have said police never told the district attorney's office that after Bishop shot her brother she tried to commandeer a getaway car at gunpoint and refused to drop her gun until officers ordered her to do so repeatedly. Those events were described in Braintree police reports but not in a report written by a state police detective assigned to the district attorney's office.
Polio said Friday that he was unsure why state police and prosecutors never received those reports. He said there was no cover-up on the part of Braintree police officers under his command.
"I can't imagine any cover-up," Polio said. "I don't see it at all."
A Quincy District Court judge recently conducted a closed-door inquest into the 1986 case and filed a sealed report. Documents will only be unsealed after the district attorney fails to win an indictment or decides not to prosecute, a trial is completed or a judge determines trial is unlikely.
John Kivlan, who was the top assistant prosecutor on the case, has said the state police report given to prosecutors concluded that Bishop had accidentally shot her brother and that no charges were warranted. The former prosecutor, who testified at the inquest, has said publicly that if he had known about Bishop's actions after her brother's shooting, that would have triggered a grand jury investigation.
Bishop's mother, Judith Bishop, the only eyewitness to the shooting, told police in 1986 that her daughter accidentally shot her brother as she tried to unload their father's shotgun. She testified twice during the inquest but did not comment to reporters.
Retired Braintree police officer Kenneth Brady had told reporters that he drove Judith Bishop to the police station where Amy Bishop was taken after being arrested. Brady said Judith Bishop asked to see the police chief, Polio. A short time later, Brady said, officers were told not to book Amy Bishop and to release her to her father and her mother, who had served on a police personnel board.
New evidence was discovered following the Alabama killings, which Bishop has said "didn't happen."
Investigators looking at an old crime scene photo from her brother's shooting discovered a newspaper article about the 1986 killings of actor Patrick Duffy's parents. The clipping, which was in Bishop's bedroom, described how a teenager shot the "Dallas" star's parents with a 12-gauge shotgun and stole a getaway car from an auto dealership.
Norfolk District Attorney William Keating, who ordered the inquest, has said Bishop should have been charged with weapons violations for her actions after her brother's killing.
Polio said he is unsure what the grand jury will be investigating.
"It's really hard to tell what they are looking for," said Polio, who's scheduled to appear before the grand jury June 10. "Hopefully they are looking for justice."