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Amy Bishop Pleads Insanity

Amy Bishop — the University of Alabama biology professor accused of opening fire on her colleagues and killing three of them in 2010 — has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, reports the Nature News blog's Meredith Wadman. The trial is set to begin on March 19, 2012, and the prosecution is seeking the death penalty, she adds. On February 12, 2010, Bishop — who had been denied tenure 11 months earlier — walked into a departmental faculty meeting and allegedly shot and killed the department chair and two associate professors. Three other faculty members were also wounded. "Bishop studies mechanisms behind degenerations in neural tissue and, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, recently devised a way to grow and study neural cells that drew more than $1 million of private funds. That device, called InQ, is manufactured and marketed by Prodigy Biosystems," Daily Scan reported at the time. Bishop has also been indicted by a Massachusetts grand jury on charges of murdering her brother in 1986, Wadman says. That death had originally been ruled accidental.