Amy Bishop’s Lawyer Expresses Regret For Calling His Client “A Wacko”
Amy Bishop’s Lawyer Expresses Regret For Calling His Client “A Wacko”
… “I think she’s wacko,” said Roy Miller, [Amy Bishop’s lawyer.] … “[S]he’s probably one of the nicest ladies you’d meet.” …
… [Debra Moriarity] worried that any attempt to tighten security could have negative consequences. “There is evil in the world; it is unfortunate that good people are hurt by that. But a university is a place of free thought and freedom to explore ideas and to search out new knowledge and you don’t want to put anything in place that dampens that.”
Moriarity returned to her office on Wednesday and said she plans to resume teaching next week. She predicted that, with the help of anti-anxiety medication, she would be able to sleep Wednesday night.
“I’ve been talking to family and friends and just getting their support helps you deal with it,” she said. “I think right now most of us want to get back there and get things going, make plans for who is going to cover classes.”…
In March, 2002, [Amy] Bishop walked into an International House of Pancakes in Peabody with her family, asked for a booster seat for one of her children, and learned the last seat had gone to another mother.
Bishop, according to a police report, strode over to the other woman, demanded the seat and launched into a profanity-laced rant.
When the woman would not give the seat up, Bishop punched her in the head, all the while yelling “I am Dr. Amy Bishop.”
Bishop received probation and prosecutors recommended that she be sent to anger management classes…
… I’ve added a new category to the blog: AMY BISHOP.
If you want to read all of my posts about the case without interruption by other posts, click on Amy Bishop under CATEGORIES.
See it down there?
To the right.
The Boston Globe quotes the official statement on what they found. Here’s the heart of it:
The analysis of the newly received documents, as well as the previously released March 30, 1987 State Police report indicate that probable cause existed at that time to place Amy Bishop under arrest charged with:
Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, Chap. 265 Sec. 15B
Carrying a Dangerous Weapon, Chap. 269 Sec. 10, 12D
Unlawful possession of ammunition, Chap. 269 Ch. 10 (h)
Polio said he allowed officers to release Bishop on the day of the shooting because the lead investigator, Captain Theodore Buker, told him she was too emotional to interview.
This part of this business has been bothering me. If this were a 21-year-old man, would the police send him home for over a week to get over his emotionality?
What, for that matter, did Buker mean by too emotional? If a suspect in a murder is emotional — I’m sure they often are — you bring in a psychiatrist to talk to them for awhile I guess… I don’t know. I’m not a policewoman. But you don’t send them home so they can work on their story. You keep them at the station and you talk to them when they calm down.
If they don’t calm down, you tell them they can stay in a cell until they calm down so that you can talk to them.
“If you eliminated everyone from an interview that was emotionally upset after a shooting death, you’d have no one to talk to,’’ [Norfolk DA William R.] Keating said.
You don’t say to the 21-year-old man Oh! I see your mom’s here. Why don’t you go home with her? Do you? But you say it to the 21-year-old woman?
Also find myself thinking about Bishop’s parents. What’s up with them? They’ve known, I guess, for decades, that their daughter is mentally ill. They’ve known she killed their son, possibly intentionally. They must have suspected she was involved in the bomb plot. There were probably other things.
What was their thinking in (perhaps) covering up the murder of her brother? That rather than lose both their children — one to murder, the other to prison — they would try to hold on to one of them, try to treat her illness… ?
But think of living with the murderer of your son!
UD thanks her old friend Jonathan Freedman for this amazing bit of sleuthing from Daily Kos, which reviews Bishop’s publication record and concludes:
The tenure system in the U.S. is already under attack. Perhaps there are ways it could be improved. But this Alabama case has about as much to do with problems with the tenure system as the O.J. Simpson case has to do with problems with waiters.
From ABC News:
Colleagues are touting a University of Alabama biochemistry professor with heroically saving lives during last week’s campus shooting rampage.
… [Debra] Moriarity, 55, is a professor whose lab was next door to Bishop’s lab. She was also believed to be Bishop’s closest friend in the department.
… The shooting erupted about an hour into the meeting at a moment when Moriarity was looking at some papers. When she looked up, the chairman of the department Gopi K. Podila had been shot in the head and Bishop was firing a second round at the person sitting next to Podila, Adriel D. Johnson Sr., Moriarity said.
Bishop was going down the line, shooting each person in the head, although the sixth person was shot in the chest, she told the magazine.
Moriarity said she immediately dove under the table and scrambled over to Bishop. “I was thinking ‘Oh, my God, this has to stop,” she said.
The professor said she pulled and then pushed on Bishop’s leg, yelling, “I have helped you before, I can help you again!”
Bishop pulled her leg away from Moriarity’s grip and kept shooting, she said. Moriarity crawled past Bishop and into the hallway when she said Bishop turned towards her friend, the gun gripped with both hands and a look of fury on her face.
“Intense eyes, a set jaw,” Moriarity told the Chronicle. As Moriarity, still on her hands and knees, looked up at her one-time friend helplessly, Bishop pulled the trigger. Click. She fired again. Click.
As Bishop stopped to reload, Moriarity said she scrambled back inside the room and with the help of survivors, quickly barricaded the door with a table so Bishop couldn’t reenter the room and resume shooting…
From an email one of the professors in the University of Alabama Huntsville biology faculty conference room sent to a friend:
“[Amy Bishop] started with the one closest to her and went down the row shooting her targets in the head,” Ng wrote. “Six people sitting in the rows perpendicular were all shot fatally or seriously wounded. The remaining 5 including myself were on the other side of the table (and) immediately dropped to the floor.
“During a reload, the shooter was rushed, and we pushed her out the hall way and closed the door. Thereafter we barricaded the door and called 911.”
He talks like mad to the press although lawyers have told him not to.
He lies. First he said this:
The New York Times reported that Anderson said he did not know his wife allegedly had a gun when she went to the meeting Friday at the university. “I had no idea,’’ he told the paper. “We don’t own one.”
Well, but you have one. And you and your wife have taken it to shooting ranges very recently. From The Chronicle:
… James Anderson, told both The Chronicle and The New York Times on Sunday that the family did not own a gun. But in an interview with The Chronicle today, he acknowledged that she had borrowed a gun, though he wasn’t sure from whom. “She was very cagey and didn’t say,” he said.
Mr. Anderson said he had told his wife he didn’t want the gun around the house because of their children, who range in age from 8 to 18. “Get rid of it,” he recalled telling her. “I didn’t want to have it. I didn’t feel we needed it.”
Ms. Bishop, according to her husband, had borrowed the gun and was considering buying it. Last summer, he said, someone followed her across the campus. “She was worried about crazy students,” he said.
… Mr. Anderson said he had gone with his wife to an indoor shooting range once, a couple of weeks ago. He said she had been there at least once before with a friend.
Don’t believe any of the bullshit coming out of the husband.
Update on the century’s great psychotic romance:
She’s on suicide watch. This was predictable, since now that her brilliant scheme has been carried out, she doesn’t feel better, but worse.
Not only did she fail to kill everyone. After ditching the gun and going out to dinner with her beloved, she was supposed to go undetected as the author of the crime.
But she got caught, and now it looks as though the state’s going to hold and then execute her! How dare they! Crappy little state! Absurd little Alabamians! She is so far above them all. And yet they seem to have some legal right to continue to hold, and then execute her. Why go on.
And how will she end it all? In the great Wagnerian tradition of their long love affair, she will do it with the help of her adored James. She will stage a liebestod. He will smuggle in the drugs that will dispatch her before she has to undergo the degradation of being handled by people so contemptibly beneath her.
Some speculation about future events.
Bishop may ask her husband to kill her children. He is almost as crazy as she is. They should be in protective custody.
UD‘s friend and editor, Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed, alludes to UD‘s most recent IHE column – which includes criticism of an article in the Christian Science Monitor – in a piece this morning in USA Today:
… Almost as soon as word of the Alabama murders spread came the news that [Amy] Bishop, who has been charged in the killings, had been denied tenure and that an appeal of the denial had been rejected. This news prompted some media speculation that tenure stress may have led to the killings. The Christian Science Monitor ran with this theme, prompting criticism from academic bloggers (including one on Inside Higher Ed) who have noted that people are rejected for tenure all the time and don’t kill anyone.
Scott quotes psychology and security experts “dismiss[ing] the idea that the shootings could be blamed on a recent tenure denial.”
Likewise, in Psychology Today, the president of the American Psychoanalytical Association, Prudence Gourguechon, writes:
Stress, disappointment, PTSD, frustration, burnout, loss, shame and humiliation DO NOT LEAD A HUMAN BEING TO PICK UP A GUN AND START KILLING HIS OR HER FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS. Not having examined them, I can not know what is wrong, psychiatrically, with these killers, but I know that something is. And it’s not these human difficulties I just listed that are constantly referenced in the media stories.
It is important to distinguish between triggers–what might light the fuse–and the explosives that lead to the catastrophe.
Getting it wrong in the media does us all a disservice. If true but irrelevant facts are continually referenced, we start to think these things (eg stress) are relevant and truly causal, as opposed to possible triggers. And the media rarely or never mention the factors that are more important to consider: Delusions. Paranoia. Major Mental Illness. Schizophrenia. Psychosis. The vast majority of human beings who suffer from these symptoms or disorders are not violent or dangerous and can do very well with appropriate treatment. But these might be the things that lead a few human beings [to] pick up a gun and shoot their colleagues. That, plus easy availability of firearms.
Why have we substituted “stress” for psychosis as a causal concept? Why have we confused triggers for causes? What is the consequence for our society? One consequence I fear is that there will be a continually diminished tendency to consider and diagnose and treat psychosis and major mental illness, and therefore there will continue to be undiagnosed and untreated disordered minds picking up guns and going to a meeting to kill.
Society needs to know and be reminded that people can– in rare but significant instances– lose touch with external reality, and substitute a dangerous irrational inner world where, for example, they feel persecuted and terrorized.
With her long history of violence, paranoia, and cold-bloodedness (After the massacre, Bishop’s husband told a reporter, she phoned him, and in a perfectly calm voice said to come to the building and pick her up for their dinner date.), Amy Bishop is a poster child not for tenure unattained, but for psychosis misperceived.
The professor who is accused of killing three colleagues at the University of Alabama on Friday was a suspect in the attempted mail bombing of a Harvard Medical School professor in 1993, a law enforcement official said today.
… [Dr. Paul] Rosenberg was opening mail, which had been set aside by a cat-sitter, when he returned from a Caribbean vacation on Dec. 19, 1993…
Opening a long, thin package addressed to “Mr. Paul Rosenberg M.D.,” he saw wires and a cylinder inside. He and his wife ran from the house and called police.
The package contained two 6-inch pipe bombs connected to two nine-volt batteries.
[Investigators] focused on Bishop, a Harvard postdoctoral fellow who was working [with Rosenberg] in the human biochemistry lab at Children’s Hospital at the time, and her husband, Anderson.
Bishop surfaced as a suspect because she was allegedly concerned that she was going to receive a negative evaluation from Rosenberg on her doctorate work, the official said. The official said investigators believed she had a motive to target Rosenberg and were concerned that she had a history of violence, given that she had shot her brother to death in 1986…
The Globe interviews a woman who worked with Bishop at the time:
… Bishop had been in a dispute with Rosenberg shortly before the bombs were discovered.
Shortly after the attempted bombing, [Sylvia] Fluckiger said, Bishop told her she had been questioned by police one day in the lab. According to Fluckiger, Bishop said police asked her if she had ever taken stamps off an envelope that had been mailed to her and put them on something else.
“She said it with a smirk on her face,” said Fluckiger. “We also knew her husband was a tinkerer. We knew she had a beef with Paul Rosenberg. And we really thought it was a really unbelievable coincidence that he would get those bombs.”
Sergeant Mark Roberts, a spokesman for the Huntsville Police, said today that police in Alabama had been informed that Bishop was a suspect in the 1993 mail bombing case…
We need to proceed with caution here.
But – let us assume that Bishop is guilty of non-accidentally killing her brother, and of trying to kill Rosenberg. There seems no doubt at all that she just killed three people and attempted to kill — I think there were sixteen in the room.
UD is now prepared to say something about Amy Bishop, and it’s got nothing to do with tenure.
When Amy Bishop perceives a problem in her life, a quandary or annoyance of some sort, she kills it. She takes it out. Bullets or bombs.
So… How does it come about that a veteran killer — if Bishop is indeed a veteran killer — has so thoroughly eluded capture?
Capture? How about thoroughly eluded being charged? In 1986, the Boston police let the little wisp of a twenty-year-old go home with Mommy the same afternoon she killed her brother. No charges. They can’t even find the case file. There probably isn’t one.
In 1993, authorities were apparently unable to make a case against her, their prime suspect.
No wonder Bishop ended up in Alabama. In Massachusetts, at least, she was beginning to gain something of a reputation… Prime suspect in a bombing… Shooting of her brother…
Poor University of Alabama. This isn’t a story about tenure. It’s a story about background checks.
Let me say something else about Amy Bishop. I think the reason she was denied tenure was that her colleagues were afraid of her.
It hasn’t appeared on the site yet, but should soon. As always, check the LATEST UD BLOGS AT IHE column on the right of this page.
It includes this latest piece of information:
University spokesman Ray Garner said Saturday that the professor had been informed months ago that she would not be granted tenure.
He said the faculty meeting where she is accused of gunning down colleagues was not called to discuss tenure.
Mug shot. That’s a bullet-proof vest she’s got on.
More details. Husband was not on the scene.
A professor used a 9 mm pistol to shoot six people, killing three, before ditching the weapon in a second-floor bathroom at UAH, police say. She then called her husband for a ride.
Blog, AL.com, Huntsville Times:
A Massachusetts police chief is now saying that UAH shooting suspect Amy Bishop shot and killed her brother during an argument, and the case may have been mishandled by the police department more than two decades ago when the fatal shooting occurred.
… Braintree Police Chief Paul Frazier is now offering a different account of the shooting to The Globe: “Bishop had shot her brother during an argument and was being booked by police when the police chief at the time ordered the booking process stopped and Bishop released to her mother,” the paper reports on its Web site. Records from the case have been missing since 1987.
“I don’t want to use the word ‘coverup,’ but this does not look good,” Frazier said.
Another newspaper, The Boston Herald, is reporting that Bishop also pointed the gun at a passing car after her brother’s shooting.
My Inside Higher Ed post is here.
Update: More on the tenure-made-me-do-it thing:
Even without tenure … Bishop would retain a share of the fruits of her research. [The CEO of the company promoting her work] said whatever happened on Friday wasn’t related to financial concerns.
“My opinion is no,” [he] said, “and that’s an educated one.”
Yet more on tenure-made-me-do-it. This is from a Decatur Daily interview with a psychology professor who was also a friend.
… “It’s not like she would never have another job,” [Eric] Seemann said. “With the research she did, there are other universities that, if she threw her hat in the air, they’d be lining up to hire her.
“She’s not some random schmuck. She’s Harvard educated. She could have doubled her salary going to these other schools. For whatever reason, she was so ego-invested that not being here was intolerable.”
I’ve already written a long post tracking the Amy Bishop story. As more details emerge, I’ll post them. Here are a couple of things worth noting.
The first isn’t about her, but about her university. Just last year, another UAH professor was convicted of murdering his wife.
As to Bishop: The Boston Globe reports:
The University of Alabama biology professor accused of slaying three of her colleagues fatally shot her brother in an apparent accident in Massachusetts more than two decades ago, a local police chief said.
Braintree Police Chief Paul Frazier confirmed the 1986 shooting in his town and slated a news conference this afternoon to discuss the incident.
She was twenty, he eighteen. While trying to “unload a round from the chamber of a 12-gauge shotgun,” she shot her brother in the abdomen.
The Globe article comes close to suggesting it might not have been accidental.
As details of Bishop’s earlier killing emerge, things get a bit stomach-churning:
The Braintree police chief said today the woman accused of gunning down three in an Alabama shooting rampage shot and killed her brother during an argument in 1986 – but no police report exists and she was never charged.
Chief Paul Frazier said Amy Bishop shot her brother in the chest, fled the house, pointed the shotgun at another car, then fled into woods.
Police found her and arrested her, but during the booking process the former police chief called and interceded, Frazier said. No investigation took place after that and the incident report was lost or discarded.
“This would never happen in this day and age,” Frazier said.
Frazier has forwarded the case to the Norfolk DA’s office for investigation…
She fired at least three shots, hitting her brother once and hitting her bedroom wall, before police took her into custody at gunpoint, he said.
Before Bishop could be booked, the police chief back then told officers to release her to her mother, Frazier said.