Scott Roeder Convicted of Murder in Killing Abortion Practitioner George Tiller
by Steven Ertelt
January 29, 2010
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — A jury convicted Scott Roeder, who is not affiliated with any pro-life organization, or murder in killing late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller. Roeder entered the Lutheran Church on a Sunday morning last summer and shot him at point-blank range.
Roeder was also charged with two counts of aggravated assault for verbally assaulting two Reformation Lutheran Church members while brandishing the gun on his way out of the church.
The jury only deliberated for 37 minutes this morning before bringing the charges against Roeder, who is not involved in the national pro-life movement.
During the trial, Roeder testified that he shot and killed Tiller because he had grown frustrated that he kept getting off on charges that he was engaging in illegal late-term abortions.
His attorneys were hoping to get a lesser charge but District Judge Warren Wilbert ruled that was not in order.
Roeder’s attorneys hoped to win a lesser conviction of voluntary manslaughter, which requires a jury to confirm that a defendant had an unreasonable but honest belief that deadly force was justified.
There is no immediate danger in the back of a church, the judge said, and ruled out a second-degree murder conviction, which does not involve premeditation, because it was clear Roeder planned to killed Tiller.
The 51-year-old Kansas City, Missouri man will face a life prison term without the possibility of parole for the first 25 years.
During his time on the stand, Roeder admitted he purchased a gun the day before he shot Tiller and that he had engaged in target practice beforehand.
His defense lawyer asked: "Did you go and shoot Dr Tiller?"
Roeder replied: "Yes."
He then proceeded to contradict himself and his own actions, which pro-life groups have soundly condemned.
"It is not man’s job to take life it’s our Heavenly Father’s. He is our creator, he gives and takes life. It’s never up to man to take life, except in defense of self or others," he claimed.
Tiller was one of the few abortion practitioners in the United States to do late-term abortions and he had been a subject of legal and peaceful efforts by pro-life groups at the time of the shooting.
Organizations had been working to get the state medical board to revoke Tiller’s license because of allegations that some of the abortions he did violated state law but not having an independent physician certify they were necessary.
Hundreds of pro-life groups condemned the Tiller shooting immediately or in the days following, but that didn’t stop abortion advocates from claiming they supported the killing or calling the majority of Americans who take a pro-life view "terrorists."
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.
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