HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Two weeks before she was to go on trial for shooting six people at UAHuntsville in 2010, Amy Bishop decided to plead guilty.
Bishop appeared before Madison County Circuit Judge Alan Mann on Tuesday afternoon. Bishop pleaded guilty to one count of capital murder and three counts of attempted murder.
Bishop appeared calm as she answered the judge’s questions. He asked her if she understood the charges, and she said yes. He also asked if she understood what she was pleading to, and the penalties. Bishop answered yes.
Bishop stood with her court-appointed lawyers Roy Miller, Barry Abston and Robert Tuten.
The judge also asked Bishop if she wanted to withdraw her previous pleas of not guilty by reason of mental disease. She said yes. The judge also asked Bishop if she understands she has a right to a trial by jury. She replied yes.
Bishop’s lawyers said their client had been evaluated by a psychologist as recently as Sunday.
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Three prosecutors appeared, Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard and Assistant District Attorneys Tim Gann and Maggie Wallace. Gann read a short account of the shooting at UAHuntsville, including the names of the six shooting victims and details of Bishop’s capture.
No one from Bishop’s family was in court for the plea. It appeared no one from UAHuntsville attended, either.
Police say Bishop charged into a biology department faculty meeting on the afternoon of February 12, 2010. She is accused of shooting six people, killing three — Dr. Gopi Podila, Dr. Adriel Johnson and Dr. Maria Ragland Davis. Three others were wounded, Dr. Joseph Leahy, Stephanie Monticciolo and Luis Cruz-Vera.
Bishop taught biology classes and had just been denied tenure at the school.
Bishop will still have a trial on September 24, because she is pleading guilty to a capital murder charge. By law in the state of Alabama, the defendant must have a trial by jury in such a case.
All parties involved in the case remain under a gag order until Bishop’s trial is finished.