Amy Bishop enters insanity plea in University of Alabama shooting

This police booking photograph released by the Huntsville (Ala.) Police Dept., on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010, shows college professor Amy Bishop, charged with capital murder in the shooting deaths of three faculty members at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. (AP Photo/Huntsville Police Dept.)
Amy Bishop enters insanity plea in University of Alabama shooting
Amy Bishop, Feb. 13, 2010
AP Photo/Huntsville Police Dept.

(CBS/AP) HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Amy Bishop stood silent, dressed in jailhouse red, wearing a bulletproof vest and looking pale and thin, while one of her lawyers entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity on her behalf to capital murder charges Thursday in the 2010 slayings of three colleagues killed during a faculty meeting at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

PICTURES: Amy Bishop Charged in Univ. of Alabama Shooting

Bishop also pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to attempted murder charges in the shootings of three other colleagues who were wounded but survived.

Circuit Judge Alan Mann set Bishop's trial for March 19 and told attorneys not to expect any delays.

Bishop is accused of pulling a gun out of her purse and opening fire during a February 2010 faculty meeting, killing three professors and wounding three other colleagues. Police and people who knew Bishop have described her as being angry over the school's refusal to grant her tenure, a decision that effectively would have ended her employment in the biology department at UAH.

Defense lawyer Roy Miller talked briefly with Bishop after the hearing before uniformed officers led her back to jail, where the mother of four is being held without bond.

"You ok?" asked Miller, who has described the woman as paranoid in media interviews.

"Yes," Bishop replied quietly, her short black hair tucked behind her ears.

After the killings at the university, Bishop also was charged with killing her teenage brother in Massachusetts in a shooting that originally was ruled an accident in 1986.

Court officials said evidence about the Massachusetts slaying could become an issue in the Alabama trial should Bishop take the stand or if defense experts testify about her mental state and psychological history. Defense lawyers haven't indicated whether Bishop wants to testify.

Mann ruled on several defense motions, including a defense request to seal the case from public view and keep spectators out of pretrial proceedings. While Mann initially sealed court records, he reversed himself during the hearing and said most documents would now be open to the public.

The gunfire killed Bishop's boss, biology department chairman Gopi Padila, plus professors Maria Ragland Davis and Adriel Johnson. Professors Joseph Leahy and staff aide Stephanie Monticciolo are still recovering from head wounds, and assistant professor Luis Cruz-Vera also was shot and wounded.

Complete Amy Bishop Coverage on Crimesider