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With Questionable Photograph, DA Opens Inquest Into ’86 Bishop Killing02:03

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Norfolk District Attorney William Keating says a photograph taken at the crime scene in Braintree indicates that the 1986 shooting of Seth Bishop by his sister, Amy, may not have been accidental, as was originally determined.

Norfolk District Attorney William Keating
Norfolk District Attorney William Keating

"In the bedroom, in Amy's bedroom, located next to a shell, a shotgun shell, it showed a newspaper article on the floor," Keating said at a press conference Thursday. "The articles headlined in that newspaper so parallel the events that occurred that it goes directly to Amy's state of mind at the time of the shooting."

The article, Keating said, referred to someone killing relatives with a shotgun and getting away in a car taken from a local auto dealer. After she shot her brother, Bishop showed up at a Braintree auto body shop, wielding the shotgun and demanding a car.

The photograph, which authorities recently enlarged and examined, is among the questions and discrepancies in past police reports that led Keating to announce Thursday that he is opening an inquest into the shooting. Authorities have come under fire recently for how the 1986 case was handled after Bishop allegedly killed three colleagues at the University of Alabama-Huntsville two weeks ago.

Bishop was released shortly after the Braintree shooting. Police reports say she was deemed too upset to be questioned. But last weekend, one of the original arresting officers told Keating's investigators a very different story.

"The information we've been able to get in the last week was that Amy Bishop was indeed calm, collected, and answering questions before her mother walked into that room," Keating said.

And then, Keating said, a phone call came in.

"Our information says it came forth from the chief at the time, stopping the questioning, directing them that no charges be brought, and saying she should be allowed to go home," Keating said.

However the Braintree chief under question, John Polio, says he never made that call ordering Bishop's release.

Keating said he is ordering the inquest because Amy Bishop's parents are refusing to talk to investigators. An inquest allows a judge to subpoena witnesses and compel testimony, including from Bishop's mother, Judy, the only person who saw the shooting, and Bishop's father, Samuel, who told police there had been an argument before the shooting.

This program aired on February 26, 2010.

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