Judge Wants Hearing on Confession of Man Who Killed Abortion Practitioner

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 9, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Judge Wants Hearing on Confession of Man Who Killed Abortion Practitioner Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 9, 2005

Buffalo, NY (LifeNews.com) — A federal judge wants to hold hearings on an allegation that James Kopp’s confession that he killed a New York abortion practitioner may have been pressured. Kopp, who has no connection to pro-life groups, shot Barnett Slepian in 1998.

U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara wants to examine claims by Kopp’s attorney that his former attorney, Bruce Barket, pressured Kopp to confess the murder due to his desire to get a lesser sentence for a woman he was also representing. The woman helped Kopp evade arrest and escape to Europe for a short time.

According to an AP report, public defender John Humann told Arcara "Barket was throwing my client under the train to help his other client" during a pre-trial meeting Friday.

"An attorney can give up on one client for the benefit of another?" Arcara asked. he later added, "I have an obligation as the presiding judge to look into this issue."

AP reports that Humann is hoping to keep the confession out of an upcoming trail on charges that Kopp violated the federal FACE law which prohibits violent protests at abortion centers.

Kopp was convicted of second-degree murder four months after confessing the shooting.

During his confession, made to the Buffalo News and WNBC, Kopp said he hid in the woods behind Slepian’s house and shot him with a high-powered rifle as he made dinner in his kitchen. Kopp said he was hoping just to injure the abortion practitioner, and not kill him, so he could no longer do abortions in Buffalo.

Government prosecutor Kathleen Mehltretter told the judge there were talks of trying to lessen Loretta Marra’s sentence but said no deal was ever reached.