Ex-prof in court on Ala. university shooting

Amy Bishop

September 24, 2012 8:34:04 AM PDT
An ex-university professor who pleaded guilty to shooting six people during a faculty meeting in Alabama was in court Monday for an abbreviated trial.

Jury selection began Monday morning for Amy Bishop, a Harvard-educated biologist who went on the shooting spree at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

She wore a red jail uniform in court and was shackled at the feet, seated between two attorneys at the defense table. A deputy removed her handcuffs.

Also in court, sitting behind prosecutors, were relatives of the people killed in the February 2010 rampage. At least one of the shooting victims who survived also was present.

Bishop pleaded guilty earlier this month to killing three people and wounding three others in February 2010. She avoided a possible death sentence with the plea and instead faces life imprisonment.

But a trial is still required under Alabama law because Bishop admitted to a capital charge of murder. So lawyers will select a jury and Circuit Judge Alan Mann will hold a brief trial.

Mann told jurors that the death penalty is not a possibility "to put your mind at ease."

Bishop still could face a trial in Massachusetts, where she is charged in the 1986 killing of her 18-year-old brother. Seth Bishop's death had been ruled an accident after Amy Bishop told investigators she shot him in the family's Braintree home as she tried to unload her father's gun. But the Alabama shootings prompted a new investigation and charges. Prosecutors have said they will wait until after sentencing in the Alabama case to determine whether to put Bishop on trial in Massachusetts.

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