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Disgruntled Professor's Murderous Past

Adding to the sensationalism, reports are showing that accusations of lethal violence against Harvard-educated biology professor Amy Bishop, arrested Friday in the killing of three at the University of Alabama, are not new. In 1986, according to The New York Times, Bishop shot her brother to death, putting an additional twist on the Alabama carnage.

Bishop is accused of killing three of her colleagues and wounding several others at a faculty meeting Friday, a shooting that many believe was spurred by the fact that Bishop had been denied tenure at the University of Alabama. The tenure process in academia is notoriously cutthroat. Average Ph.D.s take five to seven years to acquire the degree, after which universities hire tenure-track candidates for a probationary period, during which professors are expected to publish and get research grants — especially in the natural sciences. –JCL

The New York Times:

The neurobiologist accused of killing three colleagues at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, on Friday fatally shot her brother in 1986 in suburban Boston, and the police there are now questioning whether their department mishandled that case when it let her go without filing charges.

Early Saturday, the police in Huntsville charged the neurobiologist, Amy Bishop, who they said was 45, with capital murder in the shootings Friday that also left three people wounded during a faculty meeting. Dr. Bishop, who appeared to have had a promising future in the biotechnology business, had recently been told she would not be granted tenure, university officials said.

On Saturday afternoon, the police in Braintree, Mass., announced that 24 years ago, Dr. Bishop had fatally wounded her brother, Seth Bishop, in an argument at their home, which The Boston Globe first reported on its Web site. The police were considering reopening the case, in which she was not charged and the report by the officer on duty at the time was no longer available, said Paul Frazier, the Braintree police chief.

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