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The attorney representing Amy Bishop on charges she fatally shot three colleagues at the University of Alabama says Bishop's troubled history in Massachusetts will play a central role in her defense.
Every day, startling details emerge from Bishop's past — details that paint an unsettling portrait of this Harvard-educated woman from Braintree who is now accused of capital murder.
Speaking to WBUR on Thursday, Miller said Bishop is "remorseful and sickened" by the Alabama shooting but that he will plead insanity on her behalf.
Miller said it will be up to a medical professional to evaluate Bishop's mental state, but he believes Bishop is a paranoid schizophrenic.
"It's a hard road to hoe ... to get someone off on a plea of insanity. But in my humble estimation, after 41 years in criminal law, she's clearly insane," he said.
"What can I say? She's one of the nicest ladies you'd ever want to sit down with right now. But look, look at the pattern, look at the history of this. As I say, it speaks for itself."
Miller said it appears the authorities in the Boston area missed opportunities in past episodes of alleged violence.
"There should have been an opportunity to rectify and prevent what has occurred later on," he said.
The Norfolk County district attorney and state police are reviewing the case of Bishop fatally shooting her brother in 1986, which was ruled an accident. Miller is skeptical the shooting really was an accident.
"It looks kind of bizarre to me for an accident, but right now I'll have to defer to what my client is saying," Miller said.
Federal prosecutors are reviewing the investigation of the 1993 attempted bombing of a Harvard professor who worked with Bishop. No charges were ever filed. Miller said he is still collecting facts about the case.
Miller said one thing is clear from working with his client: "I think she's a very sick time bomb ready to go off at any time," Miller said.
WBUR's Andrew Phelps and Benjamin Swasey compiled this report. WBUR's Lisa Tobin produced the story for broadcast.
This program aired on February 25, 2010.
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