The parents of Amy Bishop maintain there is no evidence to support the first-degree murder indictment of their daughter in the 1986 shotgun shooting of her brother.
The parents of Amy Bishop maintain there is no evidence to support the first-degree murder indictment of their daughter in the 1986 shotgun shooting of her brother. In a statement released Thursday through their attorney, Bryan Stevens of Quincy, the Bishops called remarks from Braintree Police Chief Paul Frazier “irresponsible and libelous” and accused former police officer Ronald Solimini of making false claims. (Read the full text)
They also allege the process of a recent inquest was flawed, in part, because there was no opportunity for an attorney representing their daughter to attend or independent evidence to be heard.
“Despite all the finger-pointing among local police, State Police and the district attorney’s office, there was no evidence that Seth’s death was not an accident,” Sam and Judy Bishop said.
On Wednesday, a Norfolk County grand jury indicted the 45-year-old biology professor for her brother’s murder, as she awaits trial for the slayings of three colleagues and the shooting of three others on the University of Alabama-Huntsville campus earlier this year.
“The situation in Alabama is very different from the event in Massachusetts in 1986 and the people of Massachusetts should be embarrassed at the government’s handling of this matter,” the Bishops said. “Those that care about justice and fairness should be outraged.”
The Bishops said they understand the pain from losing a loved one and offered condolences to those the Alabama murders affected.
“Lives are irrevocably broken and will never be the same,” they wrote. “We cannot explain or even understand what happened in Alabama. However, we know that what happened 24 years ago to our son, Seth, was an accident.”
The Bishops devoted some of their statement to criticizing local authorities for re-opening a painful chapter in their life in the aftermath of their daughter’s arrest.
“This is not a case where a family victimized by a crime wishes to have answers and explanations,” they stated. “We know what happened on December 6, 1986.
“It is not a case where there was a community outrage of children being shot, drug activity, or a matter that poses any present danger to the public. There is no public outcry to reopen and investigate this case.”
The Bishops, who moved from Braintree in 1996, also took issue with Frazier, a patrolman at the time of the shooting, and Solimini, now retired.
They accused Frazier of indicating Judy Bishop, who had been a Braintree Town Meeting member, could have played a role in removing the file regarding her son’s shooting from the police station. The file thought to be missing for years finally surfaced after the Alabama murders.
Solimini had claimed that a private conversation Judy Bishop had with then-Chief John Polio shortly after Seth’s death led to her daughter’s immediate release and the fatality eventually being ruled an accident. Other than her daughter, Judy Bishop was the only witness to the shooting that occurred at the family’s home.
The Bishops alleged that testimony of some police officers, including Frazier and Solimini, were motivated by a desire to criticize Polio, and their family was simply “pawns in this effort.”
Stevens said his clients are not considering a civil suit against Frazier or Solimini.
Meanwhile, Norfolk Superior Judge Elizabeth Donovan on Thursday took under advisement a motion by The Boston Globe to release the report of Quincy District Court Judge Mark Coven, who conducted the inquest that resulted in Bishop’s indictment for murder.
The motion also seeks access to the inquest transcript. Norfolk County prosecutor Robert Nelson opposed the documents being made public. Public defender Larry Tipton represented Amy Bishops’ interests.
Dennis Tatz may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.