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Two Homicides by Women Against Live-In Relatives, but Media Doesn’t See Any Domestic Violence

June 23rd, 2010 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

Fresh off the police blotter…

In Massachusetts, a grand jury has finally indicted Amy Bishop in the apparent murder of her younger brother, Seth.  Read about it here (New York Times, 6/17/10).  And just think, it only took them 24 years to do it.  Make that 24 years and three bodies.  Amy Bishop, you’ll recall, is the biology professor at the University of Alabama who is currently charged with murdering three of her colleagues, apparently because she was denied tenure.

That was earlier this year, and when Bishop was arrested for that, someone remembered that she’d shot her brother with a shotgun in the kitchen of their parents house when he was 18 and she was 21.  She also took the shotgun and tried to steal a getaway car.  Somehow, she was never charged with anything and now police and prosecutors profess ignorance as to why not.

But soon after reopening the investigation into Seth Bishop’s death, the authorities here found that there had been probable cause to charge Dr. Bishop with assault with a dangerous weapon, carrying a dangerous weapon and unlawful possession of ammunition.

Had they done so, they’d have found what photographs today still show – that Bishop had a newspaper article describing someone who had – you guessed it – murdered a relative with a shotgun and then used the weapon to steal a getaway car.

So 24 years had to pass and three people had to die before prosecutors paid attention to Amy Bishop.  It all sounds troublingly like the woman in California who was finally arrested last year in the death of a little girl.  For weeks, she was the only apparent suspect, but police said they didn’t notice the obvious because it didn’t occur to them that a woman might kill a child.  Maybe the same thing happened back in 1984.  Maybe it’s the same reason that no article about the 1984 slaying has yet called it “domestic violence.”

And speaking of domestic violence, apparently this case isn’t that either (CNews, 6/15/10).  Forty-four year old Rodney Petryk was stabbed to death late last Saturday night and his common-law wife, Loralyn Thom, has been arrested and charged.  Apparenlty it wasn’t the first time the police had been called to the Edmonton, Alberta home.

Neighbours have described Petryk as a “nice guy” who was helpful, clearing snow, mowing lawns, or helping with other odd jobs.

The article mentions not a word about domestic violence.

Thanks to Jeremy for the Edmonton piece.

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