NEW VOICES: Victims and Relatives Support Life Sentence in Alabama Mass Shooting

On September 24, a jury in Alabama found that Amy Bishop was indeed guilty of capital murder, a crime for which she had already pled guilty on September 11. Because of this finding and plea, she will be spared the death penalty for killing three members and wounding three others of the University of Alabama’s biology faculty in 2010 after some of them voted against granting her tenure. Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard agreed to the life without parole sentence after learning that some of the victims’ families strongly opposed capital punishment. Broussard said, “[I]f you look at the folks who had the most at stake, who have lost the most, and victims’ families, for me to disregard those feelings and forge ahead, I would be ashamed.” Dr. Jacqueline Johnson, the wife of one of Bishop’s victims, said, “It’s very difficult when something so heinous and senseless strips you away of your support system. I’ve come to terms with what has happened. But in my heart, I feel that the loss will not be diminished by this sentence. Today merely begins a new chapter. In the coming months, in the coming days, we will continue to move forward to ensure that measures and justice is rendered for all parties that are responsible for the events that occurred on Feb. 12, 2010.” Dr. Joseph Leahy, who was seriously wounded during Bishop’s attack, said he was not actively seeking the death penalty for Bishop. “There’s no closure overall because I will always remember my friends and colleagues,” he said. Dr. Debra Moriarity (pictured), whom Bishop also tried to kill and now head of the department, had decided to leave the death penalty question “in God’s hands.”

(B. Lawson, “Amy Bishop will be in prison for life, victims did not want her to get death penalty,” Huntsville Times, September 24, 2012). September 25 is the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. See Victims and New Voices.