US & Canada

Amy Bishop gets life for Huntsville, Alabama shooting

Amy Bishop at the courthouse in Huntsville, Alabama 11 Sept 2012
Image caption The case of Amy Bishop's brother, who was shot dead in 1986, has been reopened

A US biologist is to face life in prison without parole for murdering three colleagues and wounding three others in a 2010 shooting spree.

A jury deliberated for about 20 minutes before convicting 47-year-old former University of Alabama, Huntsville, scientist Amy Bishop.

Apparently angry at being denied tenure in her department, Bishop opened fire at a faculty meeting.

She avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty earlier in September.

Correspondents say the biologist did not speak in court, or show much emotion while her verdict was read out. Lawyers say she has often expressed remorse to the victims and their families.

Before the plea deal, Bishop's lawyers had planned to argue an insanity defence for the 12 February 2010 shootings.

But the Harvard-trained biologist admitted one count of capital murder in the three deaths and three counts of attempted murder.

The university's head of biology, Gopi Padila, as well as professors Maria Ragland Davis and Adriel Johnson were killed when Bishop fired a 9mm pistol during a faculty meeting.

Professor Joseph Leahy, staff aide Stephanie Monticciolo and assistant professor Luis Cruz-Vera were injured in the attack. No students were hurt.

The prior decision not to grant her tenure effectively ended her employment in the biology department, associates have said.

She was apprehended outside a science building at the University of Alabama at Huntsville campus.

Separately, Bishop has been charged in the 1986 shooting death of her brother, previously ruled an accident.

The 18-year-old's death in the Massachusetts town of Braintree nearly three decades ago never came to court, but investigators reopened the case following the Huntsville shooting.

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