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U.S. Rep. William Delahunt is defending his role in the closed homicide case of Seth Bishop, the Braintree man who was shot and killed by his sister, Amy Bishop, 24 years ago.
Delahunt was the Norfolk County district attorney when state and local police ruled the shooting an accident, and it was his decision not to present the case to a grand jury.
"It was a tragedy, clearly. This was a young man who appeared to have a bright future, but there is no evidence that contradicts the conclusions of the Braintree police, the state police and the medical examiner," Delahunt told WBUR on Tuesday.
On Feb. 12, Bishop allegedly opened fire at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, where she is a professor, and killed three colleagues. She is charged with capital murder. That shooting has raised questions about episodes of violence from Bishop's past.
Local police said then that she fled home with the gun and pointed it at workers at a car dealership’s auto body shop, where she demanded a getaway car. She was caught by police nearby. Those details were captured in a police report that went missing and only recently surfaced.
"Absent any contrary evidence, of which there was none then and there is none now, the current DA has stated that even with the newly released reports, there still is nothing that contradicts the mother's account that it was an accident," Delahunt said.
Then-Assistant District Attorney John Kivlan, who handled the case, also defended his actions to WBUR.
"Apparently, (Bishop) was in the process of being booked and charges being filed when somehow there was, according to the current chief (Paul Frazier), an intervention by the former chief (John Polio) or somebody at his direction to stop the booking process."
Frazier, the current Braintree police chief, was a patrolman at the time and spoke to officers who remembered the incident that day, including one who filed a report on it. He has said publicly that police officers were very upset by the sudden intervention.
"If the reports on that incident were actually filed by the Braintree police investigators, and if they had been shared with us, I can assure you that we would have assisted the Braintree police in securing criminal complaints against Amy Bishop for assault by means of a dangerous weapon," Delahunt said.
"That would have provided us an opportunity to go before a district court judge and request a psychiatric evaluation, which could have been revealing."
This program aired on February 23, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.
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