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Amy Bishop: ‘It wasn’t me, I wasn’t there’

Amy Bishop is a Harvard educated neurobiologist, former professor of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (United States) . In February, 2010 during a faculty meeting, Bishop, 44  went on a shooting rampage, killing three of her colleagues and wounding seriously three more.

She was arrested shortly after the shootings.

As she was escorted away by the police, she told the reporters: ‘No way, they are still alive’.

Amy Bishop arrested

bishopApparently the motive for the shooting was that she was recently denied tenure which means she was about to lose her job.

It was also reported that she was a sole provider for the family, her husband James Anderson and their four children. Perhaps she was under a lot of pressure and she snapped.

However, soon many alarming details started to emerge from her past that suggested this may not be the case.

>In a bizarre twist, it was revealed that more than 20 years ago Bishop fatally shot her 18-year-old brother, Seth Bishop. It was concluded that Seth’s death was an accident.

Bishop shot her brother at the family home in Massachusetts. Based on the recollection of an arresting officer, Bishop, then 20, shot her brother three times, then ran from the house and attempted a carjacking, Boston Globe reported. Police arrested her at gunpoint and were booking her when the former chief ordered a halt to the process and released her to her mother. He later said the gun went off accidentally when she was learning to unload it.

It is not known what would have been a motive for the alleged killing. She reportedly had an argument with her father that morning, possible motive could have been revenge. Perhaps she responds to stress or stressful situations by going ballistic which suggests mental issues. According to some reports she was never properly questioned, because she was ‘highly emotional’ and the case was closed quickly. If it was a cover up, it was more likely a family cover-up than police cover up, they didn’t want to lose both of their children. And Amy may have gotten away with murder. Her parents still insist it was an accident. The case may be hard to prove decades later. The case was re-opened after Alabama shootings and Bishop was indicted in brother’s death.

In another twist, Amy Bishop and her husband were also questioned in mail bombing incident of Harvard professor Dr. Paul Rosenberg, in 1993. Their home was searched, but no evidence was found to link Bishop to the incident. Investigators believed she had a motive to target Rosenberg,  allegedly she was concerned that she was going to receive a negative evaluation from Rosenberg on her doctorate work. The bomb never exploded. A medical researcher, Rosenberg had recently attended a seminar on letter bombs—the Unabomber had struck twice that year—and this heavy package looked suspicious. So, gingerly, he cut the tape around the edge with a knife and peeked inside. Two pieces of pipe, each about 6 inches long, were fixed in place. Wires were visible. He carefully shut the box, alerted his wife, and fled. No-one was ever charged with the crime which would have been an attempted murder.

After Alabama shootings the court ordered mental evaluation which will likely be submitted into evidence.

Madison County corrections officers escort accused UAH shooter Amy Bishop to a courtroom for her plea hearing on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011. (Photo blog.al.com)

The crimes she committed are outrageous, but the media coverage at least to some extent, has been unfair. That was hardly a first time such incidents took place, but most commonly shootings are carried out by men. In those cases suspects are often described as ‘ordinary’, ‘quiet’, ‘normal’ or even ‘loving husbands and good friends’, etc. As it would be more acceptable if perpetrator is a male. There were reports that Bishop was an ‘oddball’, ‘crazy’, and ‘bully’. That neighbours ‘cheered’ when she moved out and colleagues and the students just couldn’t wait to get rid of her. Also claims that ‘she was dangerous’ and she was out of control and mentally unstable according to court documents in civil case Johnson vs Karbhari, Bishop and Anderson link

Jane Velez-Mitchell; HLN even made an assumption that all professors, scientists are somehow suspicious.

They can walk around in their white coats and keep their heads in some laboratory cage and nobody questions them.’

Hilarious. Whatever one may think about ‘nutty’ professors, Bishop is first academic in US history to be accused of such crime. If  she was a taxi driver, would they draw similar conclusions?! Of course not.

Given that mental illnesses are poorly detected and treated in US, it is likely we will never know what is wrong with Amy Bishop.

However there is nothing to suggest she suddenly snapped. The crime was planned, she went to a shooting range before the murders, she bought a gun.

She appears to be in denial, during her interrogation hours later Bishop would insist, “I wasn’t there” and “It wasn’t me’. But it is possible she was just setting herself up for insanity defence.

A trial date has been set for Amy Bishop-Anderson for March 19, 2012.

She pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Interestingly, Amy Bishop is a second cousin to famed author and Academy-awarded screenwriter John Irwing, best known for his novels ‘The World According to Garp’ and ‘Cider House Rules’.

Boston.com

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Writing about crime