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Amy Bishop’s lawyers to get pay for work

Ala. judge OK’s $550,000 bill

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Two court-appointed lawyers who represented Amy Bishop before she pleaded guilty to shooting six colleagues, killing three, at the University of Alabama in Huntsville will receive about $550,000 from the state for their work, and more payments could be coming.

Circuit Judge Alan Mann ­ordered a payment of $452,681 Tuesday for Barry Abston, one of three attorneys who represented Bishop at taxpayer ­expense on capital murder and attempted murder charges after she was declared indigent.

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Mann earlier ruled that ­another defense lawyer, Roy Miller, would get $100,426. Mann also ruled that attorney Robert Tuten was due compensation for his defense work on the complex case, but the judge did not immediately set an amount.

Some of the payments to lawyers could include thousands of dollars in expenses for testing by mental health ­experts or medical scans, but a breakdown amount was not available.

While Abston did not return a message seeking comment, Miller said his payment included several thousand dollars for travel and lodging for a week in Massachusetts, Bishop’s home state.

Bishop, a biology professor educated at Harvard University, is serving life for her colleagues’ killings. She pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors that ­allowed her to avoid a possible death sentence.

While Bishop waived her right to an appeal under the agreement, she instructed her lawyers to challenge the conviction and sentence anyway. ­Abston, Miller, and Tuten withdrew from the case, and the judge appointed a new attorney to represent Bishop during the appeal. Taxpayers will fund that lawyer, too.

After the Alabama shooting, Bishop also had a court-
appointed lawyer in Massachusetts, where she was charged in the shotgun slaying of her brother, originally ruled an acci­dent when it occurred in 1986. Prosecutors in Massachusetts decided against pursuing the case after Bishop pleaded guilty in Alabama.

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