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calendar   Friday - January 29, 2010

Guilty Verdict

Scott Roeder Guilty of First Degree Murder

Jury deliberates only 37 minutes to reach unanimous agreement



One hour ago:

WICHITA, Kan. — Jury deliberations have begun in the trial of the man accused of killing a Kansas abortion provider. The jury is considering whether Scott Roeder is guilty of premeditated first-degree murder in Dr. George Tiller’s death.

Roeder’s lawyers on Thursday failed to make a case for a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. The judge also refused to allow the jury to consider a second-degree murder conviction.

Roeder has said he killed Tiller to protect unborn children.

If convicted of first-degree murder, the 51-year-old faces a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 25 years. Prosecutors could later ask the judge to impose a so-called “Hard 50” sentence, which would require him to serve at least 50 years before he can be considered for parole.



Sentencing will be on March 9th.

I’m not going to say something trite about “taking the law into your own hands” because the law has always been in the people’s hands. But law is one thing, and being judge, jury, and in this case executioner is quite another.

Even if you are a staunch opponent to abortion you would have to be unhinged to believe that Roeder’s actions were justified. Same goes for clinic bombing, although we haven’t seen much, if any, of that since 9/11. Arrest those who break the laws. If laws exist that you don’t like, do what you can to change the laws. If you can’t change the laws, even after 37 years of effort, then maybe you should reconsider your viewpoint; you simply do not have enough other people who agree with you to make the changes that you want.

Reporting from Wichita, Kan. - In a trial that never became the referendum on abortion that some abortion foes wanted, Scott Roeder, a 51-year-old airport shuttle driver, was convicted today of murdering George Tiller, one the nation’s few physicians who performed late-term abortions.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for only 37 minutes. Roeder faces life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder.

Roeder also was convicted on two counts of aggravated assault for threatening to shoot church ushers Keith Martin and Gary Hoepner as he fled Reformation Lutheran Church after murdering Tiller.

Whether Roeder shot Tiller at point-blank range in the forehead at Tiller’s church in Wichita last May was never at issue; Roeder had admitted it to reporters, in court filings and finally to a jury on Thursday. He also said he had been stalking Tiller since at least 1999.

“I have never seen a state’s case and a defense case that so neatly dovetail,” said prosecutor Anne Swegle, noting that Roeder admitted systematically stalking Tiller before calmly approaching him in church, pressing a gun to his forehead and firing a .22-caliber slug into his brain. “He was totally remorseless in delivering to you his version of events,” Swegle told the jury.

Roeder, the only witness called by the defense, said he felt relief after shooting Tiller on May 31. After the murder, he drove toward Kansas City, stopping for a pizza along the way.

Roeder had wanted to claim the crime was justifiable homicide, based on his belief that abortion—in every case—is murder. But Sedgwick County Judge Warren Wilbert said he could not claim he acted out of necessity. Abortion rights groups became alarmed when Roeder’s attorneys asked the judge to allow the jury to consider convicting Roeder of voluntary manslaughter. At the end of testimony Thursday, Wilbert ruled that the jury could only consider premeditated, first-degree murder.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/29/2010 at 12:10 PM   
Filed Under: • Crime •  
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