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Amy Bishop’s Parents: Son’s 1986 Shooting An Accident

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(Photo Credit: Huntsville, Alabama Police Department)

(Photo Credit: Huntsville, Alabama Police Department)

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BOSTON (AP) — A former Boston-area woman’s parents testified in a closed inquest two years ago that she accidentally shot her brother to death in their home in 1986, court records show.

In a redacted transcript obtained by The Boston Globe, Amy Bishop’s father said a burglary the year before had traumatized his daughter and that the resulting fear contributed to the shooting.

Bishop was indicted in the murder of her brother Seth Bishop in June 2010, after she was charged with opening fire on co-workers at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in February 2010. Three people there were killed and three others wounded.

The former university professor has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of capital murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors say they intend to seek the death penalty.

The Globe successfully challenged a judge’s decision to keep the inquest records sealed, saying the documents could shed light on why authorities didn’t originally prosecute Bishop.

Her mother, Judith, recalled that her 21-year-old daughter and 18-year-old son had been putting away groceries in the kitchen, the Globe reported Tuesday. Amy Bishop brought the 12-gauge shotgun in and asked for help unloading it, Judith Bishop said. As her son reached for the weapon it discharged, the mother testified. She said her daughter did not have her hand on the trigger,

Amy Bishop’s father, Samuel, testified that his daughter’s “total intent was to disarm that weapon.” He said the shotgun belonged to his son and that Amy Bishop never showed interest in it.

Samuel Bishop said his daughter had been alone in their Victorian house in Braintree, Mass., for more than two hours that day and that she had the shotgun with her. He said she was afraid.

The 1986 shooting had been ruled an accident. After the university shootings, an inquest was sought. That led to Amy Bishop’s indictment for the killing of her brother.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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