George Tiller Shooting Suspect Scott Roeder Won’t Get Death Penalty if Convicted

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 3, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

George Tiller Shooting Suspect Scott Roeder Won’t Get Death Penalty if Convicted

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 3
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Scott Roeder, the suspect who has been arrested by Wichita police and accused of killing late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller, would not receive the death penalty if convicted. Roeder is the vigilante, who has ties to milita groups but none with pro-life organizations, who allegedly shot Tiller on Sunday.

As reported on Tuesday, Roeder was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the murder and two aggravated assault counts for reportedly threatening two other people.

All of the actions took place on Sunday at Tiller’s home church in central Kansas.

Roeder, whose family has said he has a mental illness, would not receive the death penalty if convicted of killing Tiller.

Under Kansas law, the death penalty can be carried out only for the killing of a police or jail official, more than one person, someone kidnapped for ransom, or during a rape. Those are all considered aggravating factors, or hate crimes, that elevate the sentence to the status that would allow the imposition of the death penalty.

As such, the maximum sentence for Roeder would be a mandatory life sentence and he wouldn’t be eligible for parole for at least 25 years.

The aggravated crime is known as a capital murder and the non-aggravated crime is a first-degree murder. District Attorney Nola Foulston said Roeder was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder because the elements did not meet the criteria for the more serious offense.

"Under the facts and circumstances that are known at this time, the election has been to go with a first-degree murder,” Foulston said.

Hundreds of pro-life groups have issued statements condemning the shooting and affirming their commitment to employing peaceful and legal means to protect women and children from abortions.

National Right to Life, a large nationwide pro-life group, said it "extends its sympathies to Dr. Tiller’s family over this loss of life."

"The National Right to Life Committee unequivocally condemns any such acts of violence regardless of motivation. The pro-life movement works to protect the right to life and increase respect for human life. The unlawful use of violence is directly contrary to that goal," it said.

However, that hasn’t stopped pro-abortion groups from attacking the majority of Americans who take a pro-life position on abortion and referring to them as terrorists.

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