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January 28, 2010

Roeder can't get lesser manslaughter charge

Posted: 10:19 PM ET

Wichita, KS - After a hard fought legal battle on both sides, the jury will not receive an instruction on the lesser included offense of voluntary manslaughter in the first degree murder trial of Scott Roeder.

Public defenders in the case had wanted the jury to be able to consider Scott Roeder's unreasonable but honest belief that he was justified in killing abortion provider, Dr. George Tiller, to save the lives of unborn babies. That would have put Roeder behind bars for about five years.

The jury will now only consider if Roeder is guilty of first-degree murder along with aggravated assault against two other church ushers. Maximum punished for these charges is life in prison. 

Roeder killed Tiller on Sunday morning  May 31, 2009, as Tiller was serving as an usher in the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita.

Closing arguments are set for Friday morning.

– Jean Casarez, In Session Correspondent

Filed under: Abortion • Trial Updates • Trials


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frank cunningham   January 29th, 2010 12:18 am ET

I think that life in prison is too good for scott roeder, he should get the same as he gave, a bullet to his head while he is looking at the gun. if nobody is willing to do it , I would


Tom   January 29th, 2010 7:53 am ET

"Thou shalt not kill... yea, just thou. Me, I'm fine with killin' because god told me to."


rosalie   January 29th, 2010 9:47 am ET

I think there will be an appeal. he killed tiller to save babies. In my opinion manslaughter should have been an option.


Lotus   January 29th, 2010 10:15 am ET

Good decision. Roeder will be found guilty without a doubt. And he deserves to get a life in prison. No one has the right to kill another human being.


Jayna   January 29th, 2010 10:17 am ET

Does Roeder have any family in the courtroom? Any family support?


Gary Lyons   January 29th, 2010 10:18 am ET

I am in agreement with Mr. Roeder as to no one has the right to abort a child in the womb. It has been documented that a viable baby is in the womb. However; I DO NOT feel that this defendant had the right to take the life of another human. Even while he was on the witness stand he said that he does not believe one has the right to take another...... Therefore; that means he contradicted his words with the murder that he committed. I feel this man should either be locked up for life or sentenced to death. Thank you!


Jayna   January 29th, 2010 10:20 am ET

Why wasn't the jury sequestered? Seems like it would be almost impossible for the jurors to avoid any outside influences (i.e. protesters, media etc)? Are there many protesters outside? Any disturbances in or near the courthouse?


Jayna   January 29th, 2010 10:23 am ET

I worry about there being a stealth juror causing a hung jury. If this occurs, can/will they investigate the jurors for this possibility?


linda   January 29th, 2010 11:22 am ET

This trial was just a waste of time and money!!! He is guilty of murder, but he also did kill a murderer! So all is well, just my opinion of course.


Jeremy Curtis   January 29th, 2010 11:53 am ET

This should be a no-brainer. Scott defended babies who could not defend themselves. It should be justifible homicide. God says an eye for an eye and Tiller killed and therefore it was justified to kill him to stop his senseless murdering of babies that could survive on their own. He is not guilty based on the defense of children. Late term abortions need to be made illegal unless mothers life is in danger.


Towanda Reaves   January 29th, 2010 12:16 pm ET

This is a very sad case, this man had no right to play GOD !!! He has destroyed two families, as well as the church community.


Deborah O'Brien   January 29th, 2010 1:46 pm ET

plain and simple roeder planned and executed a man because he didn't believe as he believed. this is first degree murder no matter what anyone says. this is the law. he had no regrets or sorrow because of it. i hope someone kills him in prison. oh no! maybe i should die too! thankfully the jury saw through this ruse. you do not have a right to kill me because i don't think the way you think.


Trish   January 29th, 2010 2:49 pm ET

At the end of a trial where it was proved that, contrary to what his attorney said, Roeder threatened the lives of two men who had no connection to abortion & whose only connection to Dr Tiller was being in the same congregation, InSession reported that jurors didn't just arrive at the courthouse each day, but had to meet at some other place and be transported, and that the Tiller family didn't just enter & leave the courthouse with the general public. Interesting how a movement that calls itself "pro life" has spawned behavior that causes rational people to fear for the safety of so many people.


Karen Patterson   January 29th, 2010 3:03 pm ET

I don't know why the family would look either incredulous or offended.


Adrian   January 29th, 2010 4:36 pm ET

"..There is no imminence of danger on a Sunday morning in the back of a church,.."

What if Dr. Tiller was murdered at his office? This was actually the murderer's 1st resort. He couldn't complete the task because he described the doctor's office as a 'fortress'. Would murder, at the point when Dr. Tiller was about to carry out an abortion, constitute 'imminent danger' then?

"..let alone any unlawful conduct, given that what Tiller did at his clinic Monday through Friday is lawful in Kansas," the judge said.'"

So, what happens if abortion becomes illegal in Kansas? Or, what if the murder was carried out in a state in which abortion WAS illegal. Parole after 5 years??

This has now become an abortion issue and not a homicidal one. We have not heard the end of this.


Diane Sower   February 2nd, 2010 10:28 am ET

Why not have the conservatives change the law, since the supreme court is tilted in their corner, or, shall I say purchased, in their corner. Then we'd still have the same amount of abortions, and the mothers would die more frequently because it would happen at home.


Connie   April 1st, 2010 10:04 am ET

Roeder should get the HARD 50 He killed a man because he did abortions. Roeder killed a man in Church, I do not see the difference. He took the law into his own hands. God will surely have plans for him. If he says abortion is murder, what does he call what he did.


Rickey Perry   April 1st, 2010 2:44 pm ET

Thay should let Scott free why he did something that the Doctor ask for.The Doctor took lives of the unborn.Thay say don't give death to the killers but thay give death to the unborn so let him go FREE



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