Beliefnet News

Beliefnet News


Man Convicted of Murdering Kan. Abortion Provider

posted by mconsoli

WICHITA, Kan. – Jurors swiftly convicted an abortion opponent of murder Friday for shooting to death one of the only doctors to offer late-term abortions in the U.S., a killing the gunman claimed was justified to save the lives of unborn children.
The jury deliberated for just 37 minutes before finding Scott Roeder, 51, of Kansas City, Mo., guilty of premeditated, first-degree murder for putting a gun to the forehead of Dr. George Tiller on May 31 and pulling the trigger.
Defense attorney Mark Rudy described his case as helpless and hopeless.
“I’ve never seen anyone lay himself out as much as Mr. Roeder did,” Rudy said after the verdict, referring to his client’s confessions.
Roeder faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years when he is sentenced March 9. Prosecutor Nola Foulston said she would pursue a so-called “Hard 50″ sentence, which would require Roeder to serve at least 50 years before he can be considered for parole.
Tiller’s widow, Jeanne, and the rest of the family quickly exited the courtroom after the verdict. In a statement, Jeanne Tiller said “once again, a Sedgwick County jury has reached a just verdict.”
The family said it wanted Tiller to be “remembered for his legacy of service to women, the help he provided for those who needed it and the love and happiness he provided us as a husband, father and grandfather.”
Roeder had confessed publicly before the trial and admitted again on the witness stand that he shot Tiller in the foyer of the Wichita church where the doctor was serving as an usher. He testified he felt the lives of unborn children were in “immediate danger” because of Tiller.
During closing arguments earlier Friday, Rudy urged the jury to reject the murder charge, saying, “no one should be convicted based on his convictions.”
Rudy mentioned leaders who stood up for their beliefs, including Martin Luther King Jr. They were “celebrated individuals (who) stood up and made the world a better place.”
“They leave their marks based on their words and deeds,” Rudy said.
But prosecutor Kim Parker said Roeder is “simply guilty of the crime he has been charged with.”
Prosecutor Ann Swegle told jurors to use their “common sense” when deliberating and find Roeder guilty based not only on the state’s case but also on Roeder’s own testimony in which he described how he killed Tiller in a “planned assassination.”
“There could be no other verdict in this case,” she said.
Roeder also was convicted of aggravated assault for pointing a gun at two ushers at Tiller’s church after the shooting. Wearing a dark suit with a red tie, he sat straightforward and expressionless as the verdict was read, moving his head toward the judge and to the jury as each juror confirmed his or her decision.
Roeder’s attorneys were hoping to get a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter for Roeder, a defense that would have required them to show that Roeder had an unreasonable but honest belief that deadly force was justified.
Tiller’s Wichita clinic was the focus of many protests and had been under investigation by a former state district attorney who accused the doctor of skirting Kansas’ abortion laws.
Roeder was the sole defense witness after the judge barred testimony from two state prosecutors whom the defense subpoenaed in a bid to show Roeder believed Tiller was performing unlawful abortions and was frustrated charges against the doctor had been dismissed in one case. Jurors in the other case acquitted the doctor.
Roeder testified Thursday that he considered elaborate schemes to stop the doctor, including chopping off his hands, crashing a car into him or sneaking into his home to kill him. Roeder said he went to Reformation Lutheran Church on three other occasions to kill Tiller: once the evening before and once the week before Tiller was shot, and once in 2008, but Tiller was not at the church on those occasions.
But in the end, Roeder told jurors, the easiest way was to walk into Tiller’s church, put a gun to the doctor’s forehead and pull the trigger.
“Those children were in immediate danger if someone did not stop George Tiller,” Roeder told jurors.
But after hearing Roeder testify, District Judge Warren Wilbert ruled that his lawyers failed to show that Tiller posed an imminent threat and the jury could not consider a manslaughter verdict.
Prosecutors were careful during the first few days of testimony to avoid the subject of abortion and to focus on the specifics of the shooting. Wilbert said he did not want the trial to become a debate on abortion, but he did allow Roeder to discuss his views on the subject because his attorneys said they were integral to their case.
Associated Press Writer Roxana Hegeman contributed to this report.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(27)
post a comment
pagansister

posted January 29, 2010 at 7:40 pm


As I mentioned on the other post about this trial and Roeder…he got just what he deserved….in fact….life in prison is mandatory for this conviction of 1st degree murder and I hope he gets the “hard 50″ on top of it, when sentenced on March 9.



report abuse
 

nnmns

posted January 29, 2010 at 9:28 pm


It’s a good decision. I’m with you ps.



report abuse
 

cknuck

posted January 30, 2010 at 3:20 am


I like swift justice and i don’t think we ought to feed and house him too long. I am a fan of capital punishment.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted January 30, 2010 at 10:25 am


Gee, ck, and here all this time we thought you were “pro-life”. Just more selectivity onn your part I guess, eh?



report abuse
 

cknuck

posted January 30, 2010 at 3:23 pm


YN I am pro-life of innocents not killers.



report abuse
 

pagansister

posted January 30, 2010 at 3:55 pm


cknuck, we actually AGREE on something….capital punishment! Who would have thought!?



report abuse
 

nnmns

posted January 30, 2010 at 8:57 pm


“Innocents”? What are the qualifications to be an “innocent”, cknuck?



report abuse
 

cknuck

posted January 31, 2010 at 2:01 am


american babies in the womb of course nnmns I thought I was quite clear



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted January 31, 2010 at 11:18 am


“I am pro-life of innocents not killers.”
Like I said, just more ‘selectivity’ on your part, same as your partial pull-quotes from the “bible” you claim to “believe” lock stock and barrel. Not an integrity bone in your body.



report abuse
 

nnmns

posted January 31, 2010 at 7:22 pm


ck I take it you have no theory about who or what is an “innocent” but in any case, in the interest of honesty you really should not call yourself pro-life.
Oh, wait, honesty means nothing to you. Never mind, call yourself whatever you want and so will we.



report abuse
 

Gwyddion9

posted January 31, 2010 at 8:51 pm


I wanted to bring this up for the discussion.
“Abortion Ruling Angers Roeder Allies”
“Group Hoped Judge Would Clear Way For Homicide Defense”
Apparently, some of Roeder’s side are extreamly upset that the 1st degree Murder charge.
One of those complaining is a Rev. Donald Spitz runs the Army of God Web site supporting violence against abortion providers. (American Taliban)
Here’s a link to the article, http://www.kmbc.com/news/22389048/detail.html
Personally, I think if they’ll do it once, I think it’s only a matter of time before they kill again.



report abuse
 

cknuck

posted January 31, 2010 at 8:57 pm


YN your issue with the way I interpret the bible is meaningless to me and nnmns you theink God is a liar so I’m in good comapny.



report abuse
 

Mordred08

posted January 31, 2010 at 9:07 pm


nnmns: “What are the qualifications to be an ‘innocent’, cknuck?”
cknuck: “american babies in the womb of course” :)
Mexican babies are out of luck, however.



report abuse
 

pagansister

posted January 31, 2010 at 9:42 pm


Gwyddion9:
Am so not shedding any tears for Roeder’s buddies! Did they really think that a jury wouldn’t bring back a 1st degree murder verdict?
They are dangerous…but unfortunately I expect until they act again, there may be nothing that can be done.



report abuse
 

cknuck

posted January 31, 2010 at 11:31 pm


Mordred the most dangerous time to be an American is in the womb, and I’m not talking about Mexicans and I doubt if the abortion rate in Mexico matches the U.S.



report abuse
 

nnmns

posted February 1, 2010 at 10:20 am


Golly cknuck, what a good point! Americans in the womb don’t vote they aren’t counted in censuses and they don’t go to school.
You’d almost think they aren’t “Americans”.
But the one other thing they aren’t is innocent. If the occasion came up they’d suck the life out of their mothers-to-be. They are part of nature; they haven’t learned anything about morality. They are in fact purely instinctual as far as feeding.
Anti-abortionists like to paint us pictures of comfortable, well-fed, non-crying babies smiling up at us. Well those are babies and they are well fed and comfortable. They have no reason to not act harmless and they are far more vulnerable after they are born anyway. The blastocysts, zygotes, embryos and fetuses are inside mom and connected to her and if things go bad economically mom may not be able to eat, but they will eat as long as they can. It’s nature.
“Innocence” is a meaningless concept for a bzef. But cknuck and his fellow misled/crazed romantics just don’t get that. And therefore mothers and families and doctors serving them will continue to suffer while they pontificate.



report abuse
 

cknuck

posted February 1, 2010 at 1:39 pm


nnmns you believe that there is a time after conception that we are not human or who we are. Sad justification of murder



report abuse
 

pagansister

posted February 1, 2010 at 4:36 pm


AH, that favorite arguement…when does life start?
In this country, Dr. Tiller was not breaking any laws. Women had a right to his service. For that he was killed…that is murder.



report abuse
 

pagansister

posted February 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm


Cknuck, women in Mexico get abortions too….in spite of the RCC. Women everywhere get them…so the US isn’t unique.



report abuse
 

nnmns

posted February 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm


cknuck: “Sad justification of murder”
What murder, cknuck? There’s no murder involved.
Let’s look at what typically happens in a murder: Unless the victim is attacked from behind very accurately he knows he’s in danger and experiences fear and then likely pain for some time. He may have time to think about those who depend on him and will suffer. He may feel upset that he won’t be able to get even for being attacked. He may grieve over plans he’d made that won’t get carried out. Those are things that happen in a murder, cknuck.
Now let’s look at what happens in an abortion. The blastocyst, zygote, embryo or fetus (bzef) never knows it’s in danger till the last instant at most, in early abortions it won’t feel pain, and never for long. It has no concept of someone depending on it, and no one does. The only plans that may have been made about it were by the mother or family which decided it needed to be aborted.
So no, cknuck an abortion is not a murder. And of course no person is killed. If you want a more accurate comparison, consider a chicken or a cow being killed except they probably experience more fear. And of course most of us will be eating chicken and beef this week. Will you be, cknuck?



report abuse
 

cknuck

posted February 2, 2010 at 12:26 am


nnmns if that reasoning helps you justify murder I can understgand



report abuse
 

cknuck

posted February 2, 2010 at 2:08 pm


pardon the spelling my laptop is in the shop and i am working on my wife’s notebook even with glasses it is a challenge.



report abuse
 

nnmns

posted February 3, 2010 at 11:21 am


It’s not murder cknuck. Or can’t you read?



report abuse
 

cknuck

posted February 3, 2010 at 5:48 pm


it’s not murder to you nnmns can’t you read?



report abuse
 

pagansister

posted February 3, 2010 at 8:09 pm


“It’s not murder” is correct, it is a legal procedure in this country (USA) as well as others.



report abuse
 

cknuck

posted February 4, 2010 at 2:18 am


Let’s see there is killing involved (the taking or stopping of life) and the victim is helpless, oh sure no murder there.



report abuse
 

pagansister

posted February 5, 2010 at 7:35 pm


“Oh sure, no murder there”. Right, cknuck…”I think you’ve got it!”



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

Hispanics turning evangelical, Jews secular
Worship service attendance is up in New York City, but down among young adult Jews, according to recent studies. On the other hand, fewer Spanish-speaking teens are attending Catholic mass, but more are showing up at Evangelical churches. [caption id="attachment_12343" align="alignleft" width="48

posted 3:10:30pm Nov. 05, 2013 | read full post »

Billy Graham: I know where I'm going
“Daddy thinks the Lord will allow him to live to 95,” said Franklin Graham recently. It was not a prophecy but a hope, Franklin explained, that he would live to see the beginning of a Christian re

posted 10:02:01am Oct. 24, 2013 | read full post »

Are All These Christians' Complaints of Persecution Just So Much Empty Whining?
The headlines are alarming: “Catholic-Owned Company Wins Religious Freedom Court Decision,” “Death Toll Rises to 65 in Boko Haram Attack on Students,” “Little Sisters Catholic Charity Victimized By Obamacare,” “Christians Sought Out, Murdered in the Kenyan Mall Massacre,” “Judicial

posted 2:41:26am Oct. 07, 2013 | read full post »

How can Christians defend themselves against today's random violence?
So, a crazed gunman opens fire and you’re caught in the middle. How can you survive? Heroes come in all sorts of packages. And they wield all sorts of defensive weapons. Such as guns and Jesus. Sometimes both at the same time. [caption id="attachment_12246" align="alignleft" width="480"] Ant

posted 2:53:48pm Sep. 27, 2013 | read full post »

Does Sunday Morning Church Really Need All This Glitter, Showmanship and Gimmickry?
What’s wrong with church today? Are we in danger of turning worship into a flashy concert? Of watering down the message so nobody is offended? Of forgetting the simplicity of the Gospel? I grew up with a preacher’s kid. He was a fake following in the footsteps of his flimflamming father who d

posted 11:26:20am Sep. 20, 2013 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.