The Killer Professor
On February 12, 2010, Amy Bishop, a professor of biology at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, attended a faculty meeting with her colleagues. As the meeting was coming to a close, Bishop pulled out a Ruger 9mm semi-automatic handgun and began firing at her coworkers. By the time she was finished, three professors were dead and three others were injured. The professors who were killed were Adriel Johnson, Sr., Gopi Podila, and Maria Ragland Davis. The other professors all eventually recovered from their injuries.
So why did this highly educated, happily married mother of four snap and commit such a horrific act? Prior to the shooting, Bishop had been experiencing some issues at work. Students had complained about her disengaged teaching style, and she had been denied tenure due to a lack of required publishing. 2010 was set to be her final year at the University of Alabama. However, it was later discovered that Bishop had a troubled past.
In 1986, when Bishop was 20 years old, she shot and killed her 18-year-old brother. Bishop had loaded a 12 gauge shotgun that her father had recently purchased and, according to her, she knew how to load it but not how to unload it. She had intended to show her brother the gun, but when she swung it around to show him, it accidentally went off, hitting him in the chest. At the time, this was considered an accidental shooting, and no charges were filed.
Bishop's disturbing behavior didn't stop there. In 1993, she was arrested for assaulting a woman in a department store. And in 2002, she was arrested for attempting to mail a pipe bomb to a Harvard Medical School professor who denied her grant application. These incidents, coupled with the shooting at the University of Alabama, paint a picture of a woman who was struggling with severe anger issues.
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The Hatchet Boy
On March 10, 1998, 17-year-old Jeffery Franklin committed a heinous crime in a quiet and peaceful neighborhood in Huntsville, Alabama. He killed his mother, Cynthia, by stabbing her with a rat tail file, before attacking his 14-year-old sister, Sara, with a hatchet. He slashed her throat and clubbed her.
When his father, Gerald, entered the home, Jeffery attacked him with a two-pound sledgehammer. He also attacked his two brothers, Christopher (age 6) and Timmy (age 9), both of whom suffered wounds to their throats and head from the hatchet. The weapon used by Jeffery were sledgehammer, rat tail file, hatchet, and butcher knife.
A neighbor girl discovered one of the bodies and ran home to call the police. When the police arrived, they thought they were responding to an injured child call, but when they went into the house they discovered it was much worse. Jeffery had already fled the scene in his blue Geo Metro. Cynthia and Gerald were pronounced dead on the scene. Jeffery’s 3 siblings were taken to Huntsville Hospital. All three children had multiple head and face wounds, but did survive, but with permanently altered lives.
The reason for the murders is not clear, but Jeffery cited that he was tired of them nagging him. His lawyer Robert Tuten believes that Jeffery was not actually satanic worshipping, but that it was a phase he was going through to upset his parents as he was raised as a strict Catholic. He was a troubled and suicidal teenager who was under the care of a psychologist prior to the killings, and had been treated for attention deficit disorder and depression.
Jeffery had possibly been up for three days straight prior to the murders, and was found to have a blood test showing 10 times the normal dose of Ritalin in his system. Up until he was 15, Jeffery was described as very smart and very nice. However, he changed in the two years prior to the murders. He had a short temper and was often in a bad mood.
He was sentenced to five life sentences in 2001 after pleading guilty to two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. He was eligible for parole after serving 15 years but was denied in 2016, and currently serving his sentence in the Bullock Correctional facility. In 2016, Jeffery was remorseful, had all drugs out of his system and was shocked at what he did. He had become Christian again and had been in a mental health unit the majority of his time in prison.
In his writings, Jeffery focused on satanic thoughts and anti-god themes, as well as images of sexual violence. His dad had called a professional six months before the crime to ask if he thought having the Satanic bible was a problem. The professional said it was and six months later, Jeffery committed the acts of murder.
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