HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A filing in a wrongful death suit over the 2010 UAHuntsville campus shootings alleges top university officials left the administration building under police protection after hearing accused shooter Amy Bishop wanted to meet with them about being denied tenure.
Our news partner The Huntsville Times broke the story Thursday. The affidavit is under seal. But, The Times reports attorneys for two of the family members who lost loved ones in the 2010 cite the filing as part of a request in an ongoing dispute about document protection.
“Plaintiffs are particularly concerned with Defendant Karbhari and UAHuntsville’s refusal/failure to reasonably provide documents and information that would corroborate Defendant Bishop’s Affidavit,” the filing reads, “wherein she describes seeing Defendant Karbhari and UAHuntsville’s then-president David Williams fleeing Shelbie King Hall under police protection when they were alerted that she was on her way to meet with them about her tenure denial,” The Times quotes from the document.
Bishop pleaded guilty in September 2012 to the February 2010 shootings. Three biology department colleagues died, and three others were wounded. She was sentenced to life in prison after waiving her right to appeal, but later told the court that she will appeal.
WHNT News 19 attempted to contact former university president David Williams, now dean of the college of engineering at Ohio State university but our calls went unreturned. We asked Huntsville Times reporter Brian Lawson his thoughts on the likelihood we would ever hear from Williams on the matter.
“If you’re Dr. Williams,” Lawson says, “there’s probably not a lot of incentive to revisit this question unless you’re subpoenaed which could happen because his movements that day or on other days may be central to what the plaintiffs end up discovering.”
Lawson has worked every turn of this case from the beginning and says one of the most unusual facets lies in the responsibility question.
“We have at least some information that suggests the university administration knew something about her being upset about this decision to not be grated tenure and they took it seriously enough, her degree of upset, that maybe they sought a police escort. But it’s one snippet, we don’t have the full affidavit so we don’t know what else is in there.”
Lawson says the other issue is the nature of credibility and Bishop herself–a co-defendant in this suit and a convicted triple murderer.
“If you’re going to take this case to a jury it’s probably going to be tough to make the argument that her word is good enough given everything that has happened, given her apparent incredible grudge against the university.”
Lawson says he believes complete information will bring the only point of clarity here.
“I think it’s a little hard to get at responsibility and for sure at this point what the court documents say is we just don’t know enough yet.”
A hearing is scheduled in this case for Friday at 1:30 p.m. WHNT News 19 will be there and we will bring you the latest on social media and provide live reports.