"She just doesn't remember shooting these folks," her court-appointed lawyer Roy W. Miller told the Associated Press.
"She's very sorry for it," he said.
Miller, 44, said the mother of four breaks down and cries, asking to see her children.
"She said, 'Do I still have a job out there?' She asked me that yesterday," Miller said. "She said, 'Do you know if I have a job? I assume they fired me. Did they fire me?"'
Miller, a professor of biology, is still on the university payroll, earning $83,000 a year. Her position was due to end in May because she was denied tenure.
Bishop, 45, appears to have paranoid schizophrenia, according to Miller. The Harvard-educated Ph.D. opened fire on her colleagues at a staff meeting last week, killing three and injuring three others.
To use an insanity defense, her lawyers would have to prove that Bishop lacked the capacity to know right from wrong. She could face the death penalty on capital murder charges and is being held without bond.
Since 1983, only one woman out of 44 who have been executed has died on Alabama's death row, according to statistics from the Department of Corrections. All were executed at the Holman Correctional Facility -- the most recent by lethal injection.
Bishop's husband, James Anderson, a freelance scientist who has steadfastly supported his wife, said that he believes denial of tenure was to blame for the rampage. Anderson, who spoke this morning with "Good Morning America," has had only telephone contact with his wife since the arrest.
Her lawyer said that Bishop has been "very cogent" in jail, though she cannot explain the shootings.
"Obviously she was very distraught and concerned over that tenure," Miller told the AP. "It insulted her and slapped her in the face, and it's probably tied in with the Harvard mentality. She brooded and brooded and brooded over it, and then, `bingo."'
"She gets at issue with people that she doesn't need to and obsesses on it," Miller said. "She won't shake it off, and it's really (things of) no great consequence."
Reports have mounted since the Feb. 12 shooting that Bishop had a violent past, though her husband has insisted she never had any mental problems.
Psychiatrists say that schizophrenia can go undiagnosed for years, especially for those who lead insular lives.
It is unclear how an insanity defense might play out with an Alabama jury if Bishop is tried on capital murder charges.
"People in science and computers are solitary people," said Dr. Igor Galynker, associate chairman for the department of psychiatry and behavioral science at psychiatry at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and professor of psychiatry at Albert Einstein college of Medicine. "They work in solitude and they don't need to interact in complex social situations and can be paranoid for a long time without someone realizing."
Schizophrenia can be marked by social isolation, odd behavior, "strange disordered" thinking and speaking, poor hygiene and lack of friends, according to Galynker.
Often people don't notice signs until more serious symptoms emerge.
"Brilliant scientists are supposed to be crazy," he told ABCNews.com.