Archive for Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Judge in trial of suspected Tiller killing rejects change of venue motion

December 22, 2009, 10:09 a.m. Updated December 22, 2009, 11:02 a.m.


— A judge on Tuesday dealt setbacks to the defense of a man accused of killing an abortion provider, rejecting a change of venue request and a motion that would have kept prosecutors from making peremptory jury strikes based on potential jurors' beliefs about abortion.

While the judge denied a defense motion to prohibit the strikes, he said he would deal with such issues on a person-by-person basis during Scott Roeder's trial. Minutes earlier, he denied a defense motion to move the case out of Wichita, where pre-trial publicity has been intense.

Roeder, 51, of Kansas City, Mo., is charged with one count of premeditated, first-degree murder in Dr. George Tiller's death and two counts of aggravated assault for allegedly threatening two ushers during the May 31 melee in the foyer of the doctor's Wichita church.

District Judge Warren Wilbert was to rule later Tuesday on a motion to allow Roeder to pursue a so-called "necessity defense." Roeder, who has publicly confessed to shooting Tiller, wants to claim at his trial that the slaying was justified to save the lives of unborn children.

If the judge rejects that defense, Roeder and his attorneys would not be allowed to make that argument to jurors. Similar efforts to use such a strategy in cases involving abortion-related violence have generally been banned, including at the 1993 trial of an Oregon woman accused of shooting and wounding Tiller.

Roeder, who has pleaded not guilty, confessed to the shooting on Nov. 9, telling The Associated Press he had no regrets about killing Tiller and suggesting the necessity defense should be the only contested issue at his trial. He declined to say when asked if he would kill another abortion provider if he were acquitted.

The "necessity defense" has rarely been used successfully in abortion cases. Roeder's attorneys — while arguing that their client has a right to present his theory of defense — have so far kept their own strategy secret.

Prosecutors have overwhelming evidence against Roeder, chiefly the witnesses who identified him during a July preliminary hearing as the shooter. Legal experts have said prosecutors likely will want to keep the trial limited to a straightforward murder case and avoid a discussion of abortion.


krisell 8 years, 6 months ago

Comrade, it's comments like yours that lead people to believe that anti-abortion people are insane. "God bless" a man who shot and killed a human being in the house of the lord??! You think it's OK to murder a man in front of little children and give them a lifetime of nightmares and flashbacks? I guess it's OK to leave already-living children to fend for themselves, huh? I think it's time to check your priorities.

ferrislives 8 years, 6 months ago

ComradeRedRooster (Anonymous) says…

I sure hope this courageous man can get a fair trial in Wichita.

If he was truly courageous, he wouldn't have run away. He's no more courageous than Benedict Arnold was.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 6 months ago

dear mr. roeder: it doesn't matter if you had been granted a change of venue or not. people on the planet qxrha5b have heard about this case... its not like this story was only known to kansans.

ps: DUH.

BrianR 8 years, 6 months ago

Hey Commie, I think the alley behind my house is a good place to try him.

ralphralph 8 years, 6 months ago

Kansas hasn't recognized a necessity defense in this type of case, so the judge really couldn't allow it. Only the judges in Topeka get to make up new laws based on their pretend powers ... so this would have to happen on appeal, and it's not going to happen. His argument is more to the people than to the Court, and probably won't matter a lot.

krisell 8 years, 6 months ago

Comrade, my apologies, but I don't believe in your lord, and therefore don't go out of my way to capitalize it. How many babies have been born as a result of Roeder's actions? Most likely not very many, as there are other doctors in this country who provide the same services. As long as it remains legal, there always will be. And your slavery and genocide comments make absolutely no sense whatsoever, and have nothing to do with the argument anyway.

Your "hero," as ferrislives pointed out is probably one of the most, if not THE MOST, cowardly "hero" I've ever heard of. Most people I've heard of who stand by their convictions and commit a crime, have the fortitude to face the reprocussions of their actions. Not run away and try to hide like little children. Christians like yourself give good Christians a bad name, and are the reason I no longer consider myself a part of that group. I will never understand how you could possibly justify cold-blooded murder. It was my understanding that murder was a sin. If you believe that god is the true judge, how can you justify taking that responsibility away from him??

rbwaa 8 years, 6 months ago

ComradeRedRooster (Anonymous) says…

If Roeder is to be charged for any crime it should be practicing medicine without a license. Tiller's post birth abortion during his 272nd trimester was done without proper medical oversight. So the fitting punishment is a stern reprimand. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ oh, so you actually support abortion

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