Roeder found guilty of first degree murder


Breaking: The New York Times reported that a Kansas jury found Scott Roeder, who admitted to planning, stalking and murdering Dr. George Tiller during a church service, guilty of first degree murder. The jury took 37 minutes to convict.

It took jurors 37 minutes on Friday to convict Scott Roeder, an abortion opponent, of first-degree murder in the death of George R. Tiller, one of the few doctors in the country to perform late-term abortions.

When the verdict was read inside the Sedgwick County Courthouse here, Mr. Roeder, 51, had no visible reaction. He stared straight ahead, blinking his eyes. He faces a life sentence in prison.

Abortion rights supporters lauded the ruling, saying it sends a strong, unambiguous message to others who believe that violence against abortion doctors is justified that such acts will be punished. Some abortion opponents, meanwhile, said that Mr. Roeder — who admitted to the killing in open court but said that was the only way he could stop the deaths of babies — had not received a fair trial, and that the outcome might only encourage more violence.

After the verdict, Dr. Tiller’s lawyers issued a statement at the request of his widow, Jeanne, and their family. In the statement, they thanked the jury and the prosecutors and called the verdict “just.”

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An additional controversy in this trial was the defense's efforts to make possible a charge of and conviction on "Voluntary Manslaughter." Once the points toward that had been made, and once the defendant had testified, and judge made clear that "Voluntary Manslaughter" was inappropriate - both for this case, and for any other like it.

My hope, since this came up in my backyard, as it were, is that this judge's ruling will set precedent, and prevent such efforts to gut the seriousness of such a murder ever being tried again.

Marshall Scott

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