Judge seals capital case against Ala professor

AP News
Posted: Jun 08, 2011 2:46 PM
Judge seals capital case against Ala professor

A judge has sealed all court records in the capital murder case against a former biology professor accused of killing three colleagues and wounding three others during a faculty meeting at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, one of her lawyers said Wednesday.

The decision by Madison County Circuit Judge Alan Mann means the public won't be allowed to know what's going on in the case against Amy Bishop until her trial, which hasn't been scheduled.

Defense lawyer Roy Miller confirmed Wednesday that court records had been sealed at Bishop's request, but he declined further comment. The judge previously issued a gag order that barred anyone involved in the case from discussing evidence publicly.

The judge also is considering a motion to bar the public from attending any pre-trial hearings in the case, which has drawn international attention.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

After the slayings, Bishop also was charged with killing her teenage brother in Massachusetts in a shooting that originally was ruled an accident in 1986. David Traub, a spokesman for Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey, said the Massachusetts murder case will proceed after the Alabama charges are resolved.

"It is the normal course of things that if someone is being held in pretrial custody in one state, those charges are resolved before they face the charges in any other state," Traub said.

Miller has said the defense is planning an insanity defense in the university shooting, and Mann last month ordered a mental evaluation for the Harvard University-educated Bishop, who is being held without bond. The judge placed the case on hold until the psychiatric examination is complete.

Authorities said Bishop pulled a gun from her purse and opened fire during a meeting, killing three other professors and wounding three colleagues. Police and people who knew Bishop have described her as being angry over the school's refusal to grant her tenure, a decision that effectively would have ended her employment at UAH.


Associated Press Writer Denise Lavoie contributed to this report from Boston.