HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — The murder charge brought against Amy Bishop for the 1986 shooting death of her brother in Massachusetts will definitely be used in any insanity defense for the killing of three university colleagues in Alabama, her attorney said Thursday.
Roy Miller said the killing of her 18-year-old brother Seth would play a role if the defense follows through with its initial plan to claim that the biology professor is mentally ill.
"If we claim a defense of insanity, then her whole life history comes in, including the killing of her brother. Her life becomes an open book then," Miller told The Associated Press in a phone interview.
Miller did not elaborate on how the Boston indictment, announced Wednesday, would be used in an insanity defense.
District Attorney Robert Broussard in Huntsville said earlier her indictment could aid the murder case against her in the February shooting rampage that killed three biology department colleagues and wounded three others at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He said that if a mental illness defense is raised, the prosecution can bring out evidence from her entire life to rebut it.
The killing of her brother at the family's suburban Boston home initially was ruled accidental. But after Bishop was arrested in the Alabama shootings, authorities in Massachusetts decided to reopen the case.
In announcing the indictment, prosecutors said police failed to share important evidence that would have pointed to a homicide, not an accidental shooting as Bishop and her mother claimed. Evidence that surfaced in the reopened investigation included an alleged carjacking attempt by Bishop after she fled the shooting scene.
Bishop's parents called the indictment the result of a "prejudicial, biased" review of their son's death.
In a sharply-worded statement released by their attorney, Bryan Stevens, Judith and Sam Bishop said the investigation revealed no new evidence that Seth Bishop's fatal shooting in the family's Braintree home was anything other than an accident.
They said the review that led to the grand jury indictment was "an enormous waste of public resources" and stemmed from finger pointing between past and present police officers and prosecutors.
Miller said Bishop could be sent to Massachusetts for prosecution, but it's unlikely. "I don't ever see her being released to Massachusetts, certainly not in the reasonable, foreseeable future," said Miller.
Broussard has said a grand jury would likely consider charges against Bishop by late summer.