"Attorney forgave her sister’s killer and became an advocate against the death penalty," is the ABA Journal report written by Martha Neil.
A well-known Illinois lawyer who works as a public defender and opposes the death penalty, Jeanne Bishop is also a woman of faith who views the criminal justice system from a very personal perspective.
One of her sisters, Nancy Bishop Langert, was murdered, along with her husband, Richard, in the couple's townhome in a wealthy Chicago suburb more than 20 years ago. Eventually—after theories were floated about unlikely drug connections or possible retaliation for Jeanne Bishop's work defending members of the Irish Republican Army imprisoned in the United States—the truth came out. A 16-year-old neighbor of the couple had murdered them, as he later admitted. A friend with whom David Biro discussed the crimes testified against him at trial, saying Biro told him he killed the Langerts because he found them "annoying," the Chicago Tribune (sub. req.) recounts in a lengthy front-page article.
Both Jeanne Bishop, who once worked for Mayer Brown, and another surviving sister became active as advocates against the death penalty. Bishop publicly forgave Biro, who was convicted and sentenced to life without parole. But as time passed, Bishop began to feel that more was required of her. As a Christian, she believes, it is also her obligation to seek reconciliation with Biro. She wrote to him in prison at the beginning of the year and he responded. For the first time, he admitted that he was responsible for the slayings of the Langerts and their unborn child and apologized.
A lengthy Chicago Reader profile of Bishop from 1992 provides additional background about the Biro case.