Renowned Criminal Psychiatrist To Impact Bishop Case


Amy Bishop talks with her lawyers in a previous court appearance (Photo: Gregg Stone, WHNT News 19)

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Accused UAHuntsville shooter Amy Bishop Anderson will soon be examined by one of America's most renowned criminal psychiatrists, a major reason why her upcoming trial was delayed.

The two-week delay was ordered by Madison County Circuit Judge Alan Mann on Tuesday, and one local attorney says it's not hard to figure out why the trial was pushed back to September 24th.

Huntsville attorney Mark McDaniel told WHNT News 19 that Bishop Anderson's defense team has reached an agreement with Maryland-based neurologist James Merikangas, a doctor who has testified in some of the nation's biggest criminal trials over the last several years.

Read more coverage of the Amy Bishop case.

McDaniel said Dr. Merikangas' high-demand schedule is the primary reason the Bishop trial was delayed, with the judge having to take into consideration days Merikangas would be available to testify as an expert witness.

McDaniel used Dr. Merikangas as an expert witness in two of his own murder cases in the 1990s, and said his findings will hold tremendous weight in the courtroom. Defense attorneys have maintained that Bishop is not guilty by reason of insanity.

"He's nationally known, and the fact that he's coming down here and doing the evaluation is significant in this case," said McDaniel. "If his findings help the defense, that's significant for the defendant in this case... If he were to find that Amy Bishop does not have a severe mental disease or defect and that she certainly knew right from wrong, I would say that would be something that the state would be very interested in."

Last week, prosecutors and defense attorneys reached an agreement to cover the costs for labratory tests that Dr. Merikangas will be performing on Bishop at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Bishop is accused of killing three of her colleagues during a faculty meeting at UAHuntsville in February 2010. Three other professors were wounded in the attack that garnered national attention.

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