Jury Hears About Abortion at Trial of Alleged George Tiller Shooter Scott Roeder
by Steven Ertelt
January 25, 2010
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — The jury at the trial of Scott Roeder, the man accused of shooting late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller, heard about abortion for the first time today. They also heard that Roeder, who has no affiliation with any pro-life organization, visited Tiller’s church several time before shooting him there last summer.
Keith Martin, an usher at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, talked about the shooting on May 31 and said he had seen Roeder there about a half dozen times before that day.
Roeder has already admitted to killing Tiller but he has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and aggravated assault — for threatening two church members on his way out of the building after the shooting.
Today, District Attorney Nola Foulston brought up abortion for the first time in the trial when she asked Martin whether the church had been protested because of abortion and Tiller’s attendance there.
Martin said the church was suspicious of newcomers because of the protests and that some pro-life people would disrupt the service to urge church members to speak out against Tiller.
But because Roeder had attended the church several times before, AP indicates he told the jury that he wasn’t too suspicious of him.
The main charge would net Roeder a life term in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. However, his defense attorneys are asking that they be allowed to mount a manslaughter defense on his behalf, employing a rarely-used section of Kansas law.
Voluntary manslaughter is defined in Kansas law as ”an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force.”
Defense attorney Steve Osburn appeared to drop a hint today that he would rely on that defense for Roeder by asking Martin if it was "reasonable" for Roeder to shoot Tiller, and Martin, according to AP, responded, "No."
District Judge Warren Wilbert won’t rule on whether the defense can be used until the defense rests its case.
Roeder admitted he killed Tiller to stop abortions.
"I choose this action I am accused of because of the necessity defense," Roeder told The Associated Press in November. "I want to make sure that the focus is, of course, obviously on the preborn children and the necessity to defend them."
Roeder but he was not affiliated with any pro-life organizations and the pro-life movement has soundly condemned his shooting and pointed out that Tiller was close to having his medical license revoked — which could have put him out of business legitimately.
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