Amy Bishop, a former University of Alabama-Huntsville professor sentenced to life in prison for killing three of her colleagues in a shooting rampage, wants to go on trial in the 1986 death of her brother in Massachusetts, her lawyer said Tuesday.
Larry Tipton said Bishop wants to prove that she had a ‘‘loving and caring relationship’’ with her brother and that the shooting was accidental.
In court documents filed Monday, Tipton said Bishop objects to a decision by Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey to decline to prosecute her in the killing of 18-year-old Seth Bishop.
‘‘She wants to use a trial to help demonstrate that she’s innocent. She never intended to kill her brother,’’ Tipton said Tuesday.
Morrissey said last week that he decided not to move forward with the murder indictment because Bishop already received a sentence of life in prison without parole in the 2010 Alabama killings.
No Mass. Trial
The district attorney submitted a motion Tuesday to officially end the pursuit of a trial in Massachusetts. ‘‘The penalty we would seek for a first-degree murder conviction is already in place,’’ he said.
Also, defense attorney Roy Miller, who represented Bishop in the Alabama shootings, said Tuesday that Alabama officials would be unlikely to let Bishop travel to Massachusetts.
‘‘It’ll be a cold day in hell when Alabama releases Amy Bishop to go to Boston,’’ he said. ‘‘This case is over.’’
Miller said he understands Bishop wanting to clear up the Massachusetts charges for the sake of her family.
He said the charge filed in Seth Bishop’s killing ‘‘eats at’’ her. Bishop tried to kill herself by slashing her wrists in jail in Alabama the night she was informed of the indictment in Massachusetts, he said.
‘‘She’s always claimed her innocence,’’ Miller said. ‘‘She named one of her children after her brother. She loved him.’’
Morrissey said the indictment would be withdrawn ‘‘without prejudice,’’ meaning he could reinstate it if something unexpectedly goes wrong with the Alabama sentence.
Bishop claims she accidentally shot her brother while unloading her father’s shotgun in their Braintree home. Bishop’s mother, who witnessed the shooting, has backed her up.
Authorities ruled the shooting accidental, but the investigation was re-opened after Bishop was charged with opening fire during a faculty meeting at the school in February 2010, killing three of her co-workers and wounding three others.
In court documents, Tipton argued that inquest and grand jury proceedings that led to Amy Bishop’s indictment in Seth Bishop’s death were ‘‘one-sided’’ and tilted in favor of prosecutors. He said prosecutors would be unable to present evidence of a motive or intent by Bishop to kill her brother, while the defense would present evidence that she and her brother had a good relationship and credible evidence that she accidentally shot him.
Tipton said the shotgun has a documented history of malfunctioning and misfiring, evidence he said was discounted or ignored by authorities.
He also contends that Morrissey’s plan to file a ‘‘nolle prosequi,’’ or declaration that he does not intend to prosecute, is an ‘‘abuse of authority.’’
David Traub, a spokesman for Morrissey, said Bishop’s filing of her objection ‘‘is legally meaningless.’’
Bishop, a Harvard-educated biologist, pleaded guilty to the Alabama shootings.