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Archive for Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tiller murder suspect advocates ‘justifiable killing’ via mail from jail

July 5, 2009

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— A man charged with shooting a prominent Kansas doctor who performed late-term abortions has been advocating through mailings from his jail cell that such killings are justifiable and communicating with individuals on the fringes of the anti-abortion movement, weeks after suggesting others might be planning similar attacks.

Scott Roeder, 51, is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the May 31 death of Dr. George Tiller — an attack that reignited the national debate over late-term abortion and gave Roeder icon status among extremists in the anti-abortion movement.

From his cell in Sedgwick County jail, Roeder has been sending anti-abortion pamphlets that laud Paul Hill, who was convicted of murdering an abortion provider in 1994, as an “American hero,” and include examples of Hill’s writings about how the killing of abortion providers is justifiable.

Hill was executed in 2003 for killing Dr. John Bayard Britton and his bodyguard outside a Pensacola, Fla., abortion clinic.

Roeder has also been corresponding with the Rev. Donald Spitz — whose Army of God group’s Web site celebrates Hill and who says he sent Roeder seven of the pamphlets at Roeder’s request — and Linda Wolfe, an Oregon activist who has been jailed about 50 times for anti-abortion activities and who is close friends with a woman convicted of shooting Tiller in the arms in 1993. She says Roeder mailed her one of the pamphlets.

First Amendment issues

No one has accused Roeder of breaking any laws because of his jailhouse correspondence. But local and federal law enforcement agencies took seriously a threat Roeder made during a June 7 interview with The Associated Press that there are “many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal.” A judge raised Roeder’s bond to $20 million, citing his comment to the AP, after a prosecutor argued Roeder’s ability to get his message widely disseminated should lead a reasonable person to believe he is engaged in “alleged acts of American terrorism.”

FBI and Justice Department officials declined to comment about whether they were concerned about Roeder’s jailhouse contacts. The Sedgwick County public defender’s office, which is representing Roeder, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. And the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office declined to speak about the matter.

Sedgwick County Sheriff Robert Hinshaw said he has assigned a trusted person to read all of Roeder’s incoming and outgoing mail. He said Roeder has received about 100 letters.

Jail officials typically check incoming mail for contraband such as pornography or drugs but do not attempt to read all of the more than 97,000 pieces of mail inmates get each year unless there is a specific concern, such as in Roeder’s case. Outgoing mail is normally sealed by inmates and not read by prison officials.

“Everyone in this jail has all the constitutional rights, except those I can restrict for the safety and security of the facility,” Hinshaw said.

‘Reaching out’ to loner

Angel Dillard, a Christian music songwriter from Valley Center said she’s been questioned several times since striking up a friendship with Roeder after the Tiller shooting.

“They just wanted to check us out and make sure we weren’t some nuts that were planning to pick up where Roeder left off,” Dillard said. “We have no plans to do anything of violence to anyone. We are reaching out to someone who we know is totally alone right now.”

Dillard and her husband have exchanged several letters with Roeder and spoken to him by phone, and she plans to visit him next week. She said Roeder has not spoken about Tiller’s killing, and has only shared Biblical scripture and asked her to pray for an end to abortion.

Spitz — whose Web site likens Tiller to Adolf Hitler and features multiple essays supporting “defensive action” and justifiable homicide — said he had never heard of Roeder until Roeder’s arrest and said they have never spoken specifically about the Tiller shooting.

“He did that out of the blue, came out of nowhere — a run-of-the-mill, pro-life guy and he goes out and does this,” Spitz said of the alleged shooter. “He is not a run-of-the-mill, pro-life guy any more though.”

Spitz, who said he became a good friend of Hill’s before his execution, said he sent Roeder seven pamphlets advocating justifiable homicide that Roeder wanted to mail others. He said authorities had not contacted him about Roeder and that he has no plans to kill an abortion doctor himself.

“You have to be called to do that because when one does that your life is basically over,” Spitz said.

Comments

Janet Lowther 5 years, 5 months ago

This is the logical result of the pro-life movenent's rhetoric calling abortionists "murderers."

I just can't see how the mainstream pro-life folks can honestly disavow responsibility for inspiring these actions.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 5 months ago

The problem, jrlii, isn't "rhetoric" or "name-calling." Pro-life proponents perceive abortion to be murder. Not long ago in this country, some human beings were legally designated and treated as "property." This didn't withstand the perception that they were not.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 5 months ago

I have a question.. Just how does this slime on the bottom of a snail get access to materials to distribute? I know that in the local lockup, a visitor cannot even be in the same room with an inmate, you have to speak through a heavy glass window with a small metal diaphram to pass sound, you cannot send items to an inmate, the mail is opened and screened. How does this creep even obtain access to the priviliges to conduct his reign of terror against those he thinks need to die?? Who is running this jail? And how does this terrorist get access to the news media? Where is his lawyer, I thought was supposed to present a defense to his client, not allow the blathering idiot to hang himself in the news media (although this might be most appropriate with this murder). What is really going on with this case??

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 5 months ago

Semantics, logicso; it is perception which ultimately rules.

The perception that people are not property was inevitable, however entrenched and legally justified that former mindset was. The perception that abortion indeed is murder similarly will prevail.

jaywalker 5 years, 5 months ago

Naw, benny, I respectfully disagree. This guy should be silenced completely. It does no one any good to hear someone else's 'psychopathic, bloodthirsty rage', unless you're lookin' for his 'message' to reach another crackpot and convince them to stage another 'justifiable' murder. Don't give psycho's a voice. Ever.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 5 months ago

All voices potentially are relevant.

In what measure is the "psychotic" act a reflection of--even a sane response to--an insane circumstance?

(No, I am not justifying the actions of Tiller's killer. On the other hand, I find Tiller's acts equally mystifying.)

jaywalker 5 years, 5 months ago

"All voices potentially are relevant."

That's a broad brush, tange. But I see no relevance coming from the voice of someone like Charles Manson, say. Perhaps in the essence of someone like Bundy, Dahmer, or the BTK guy lending their 'expertise' in order to track down another nut job. But I certainly see no logic in allowing this guy to give a rationale for his act to the public.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 5 months ago

In what measure is the “looney left” a reflection of—even a sane response to—an inane circumstance?

coolmom 5 years, 5 months ago

i vote loony. whathefk perfect comment.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 5 months ago

Thanks Benny, but I have to agree with Jaywalker. There exists in our society a frightenly large segment that are not moved individually to commist such outrages as this, but the encouragement from such mental cases as this nut can embloden them to escape their hesitation and act in copycat fashion. Benny, I see your point, everyone needs to be aware of the dysfunctional and debauched mannerisms of this murder, but still, I cringe at the number of idiots out there who are contemplating a similar crime.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 5 months ago

"Embolden" Gads. I do not even know if this is a real word? This getting old is awful.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 5 months ago

logicso, I see you've incremented your year (09), but little else has changed. tids...

"Abortion is no more murder than a miscarriage is death."

When does miscarriage result in life?

"Abortion is no more murder than conception is birth."

[sigh] ... From the moment of conception, through birth, and throughout life, however you want to slice it, there is but a continuously developing entity which, at every demarcatable point of development, has the very same qualities and potential as you and me.

"Abortion is no more murder than a person is property."

A definition as narrow ("legalistic") as yours can only be semantic.

"... equating abortion to murder has no place in the debate."

"Debate," so constrained, defies the value and very spirit of "debate."

I concede. You lose.

Sigmund 5 years, 5 months ago

Personally I don't approve of killing abortion doctors but I don't want to impose my morality on anyone.

jaywalker 5 years, 5 months ago

logicsound,

Our views on abortion seem to be quite similar so I'd like to get your opinion on something else, if you care to oblige. If a pregnant woman is murdered and the fetus does not survive, should the offender be charged with two murders? I think so as there's potential for life, but have always felt that it makes a pro-choice stance somewhat contradictory. Any thoughts? Happy to hear from any other of the pro-choice crowd on this as well.

Sigmund 5 years, 5 months ago

jaywalker (Anonymous) says… "I think so as there's potential for life, but have always felt that it makes a pro-choice stance somewhat contradictory. Any thoughts?"

I was unaware that prior to birth a fetus wasn't alive but only "potential for life." The fetus is alive and it's "potential" is only for human life as it is very unlikely a fetus will develop into anything but a human being. You also appear to be confusing "the legal" with "the moral" so perhaps I can help with that apparent contradiction.

Murder is a legal conclusion which requires intentionally killing a human being. However, abortion is a legally sanctioned intentional killing of a "potential human being" and therefore you can not reach the legal conclusion that it is "murder." Killing the mother and fetus are not legally sanctioned (the "right to privacy" hasn't been extended that far) and therefore both are murders. Does that help?

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

jaywalker (Anonymous) says…

logicsound,

Our views on abortion seem to be quite similar so I'd like to get your opinion on something else, if you care to oblige. If a pregnant woman is murdered and the fetus does not survive, should the offender be charged with two murders? I think so as there's potential for life, but have always felt that it makes a pro-choice stance somewhat contradictory. Any thoughts? Happy to hear from any other of the pro-choice crowd on this as well. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My understanding is that it depends on how far along the pregnancy is and the intent of the woman to carry to term.

In some cases, with early pregnancy, the woman may have not known yet that she was pregnant.

I do recall reading a case quite a while ago that, in factoring the decision as to whether or not charge the defendant with 2 counts of vehicular homicide, the prosecutors looked at the fact that the mother had already decorated the nursery, picked out potential names for the baby & had registered for a baby shower. I really wish I could find the article that would explain further.

I am sure that if it was a case where the woman was intending to give the child up for adoption, there would be paperwork or other evidence to show that she planned to carry to term and then give up her child to another person.

Most cases that I have read of where there was a charge of 2nd murder due to the woman's pregnancy have been ones that dealt with a late term (7mos or greater) pregnancy. Lacy Peterson and her baby come to mind.

There is also a presumption that a woman who has carried a fetus that far to term is intending to give birth.

Hope that helps some.

jaywalker 5 years, 5 months ago

Sigmund,

Appreciate the condescension and patronization. It really strengthens your position and doesn't make you look like a donkeywhole at all. The reason I posed that question for those that side with the pro-choice view is because I already know and understand the pro-life perspective, and was confident someone much like yourself would respond......well, much like you have. I respect the pro-life stance, Sigmund. The attitude you displayed ain't helpin' the cause, however. That's the kind of rhetoric the nutjob subject of this article embraces. Well done you.

"I was unaware that prior to birth a fetus wasn't alive but only “potential for life.”

Huh. I was unaware anyone could really be that stupid and still type.
Look, I have as much interest getting into a debate on abortion as I have in pounding my head into a wall. The results would be too similar. Hence the line which ended my last post: "Happy to hear from any other of the pro-choice crowd on this as well." It's a thoughtful question for someone on the same side of the issue as myself because it poses a moral quandary, or at least I feel it does. That's why I'd like to hear from those that feel like I do. With that being said, however, I completely understand if nobody feels like taking a shot at it due to the pre-programmed vitriole they're likely to encounter.

Peace.

Sigmund 5 years, 5 months ago

Katara (Anonymous) says… "My understanding is that it depends on how far along the pregnancy is and the intent of the woman to carry to term."

Pretty much correct although the law and analysis varies State to State. Yet somehow that analysis isn't very satisfying of jaywalkers basic question, "Why should the intent of the mother make a viable fetus suddenly a baby whose life the state will protect?"

If a mother decorated a nursery and then decide to abort I very much doubt that she or the doctor would be prosecuted for murder. If her boyfriend beat her so badly she "lost the baby" should prosecution depend on what her intent was? "Members of the jury I will show the victim had an appointment with the abortionist so you can't convict my client for murder of the baby she would have aborted!" That isn't very satisfying.

jaywalker 5 years, 5 months ago

Katara,

Thank you for your thoughtful post. That is definitely a dimension I was hoping to explore as well, that being how far along the pregnancy is, whether the mother intended to carry to term, is there a specific 'point' when it legally becomes two murders or is that a gray area, etc. More than anything I'm curious how pro-choicers 'feel' about the question rather than the actual legal statutes. Do you have an opinion on the matter?

Sigmund 5 years, 5 months ago

jaywalker (Anonymous) says… "Sigmund, Appreciate the condescension and patronization. It really strengthens your position and doesn't make you look like a donkeywhole at all."

Sorry you felt I was being condescending. I felt by accurately rephrasing the basis of your question ("jaywalker says… “I think so as there's potential for life...") you might come to your own conclusions. If you were only looking for a pro choice perspective I suggest you ask your questions on a pro-choice web site. This site tends allow a diversity of opinions. This site isn't just about you, your questions, or your believes. Lots of other people visit here who might have the same question as you and are looking for more perspectives than just you and yours And your ad hominem attack doesn't makes you look any better than me.

Good luck in your search for answers. Peace.

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

Sigmund (Anonymous) says…

Katara (Anonymous) says… “My understanding is that it depends on how far along the pregnancy is and the intent of the woman to carry to term.”

Pretty much correct although the law and analysis varies State to State. Yet somehow that analysis isn't very satisfying of jaywalkers basic question, “Why should the intent of the mother make a viable fetus suddenly a baby whose life the state will protect?”

If a mother decorated a nursery and then decide to abort I very much doubt that she or the doctor would be prosecuted for murder. If her boyfriend beat her so badly she “lost the baby” should prosecution depend on what her intent was? “Members of the jury I will show the victim had an appointment with the abortionist so you can't convict my client for murder of the baby she would have aborted!” That isn't very satisfying ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Your argument makes one very big assumption. Please show that mothers wait until late term or go through the anticipation of giving birth (decorating, registering for showers, etc) then after all that decide to have an abortion just because. Those situations do not exist. There are only medical reasons for a late term abortion (health of mother or lack of health of fetus) and the mothers do not take the decision for those abortions lightly. Many have already decorated their nurseries, named their babies, etc and must go through this heart-rending decision which was never part of their plan.

For your interesting example of the boyfriend beating the mother until she loses her child and having an abortion appointment...if she had an appointment to have an abortion, then it would be very early on in the pregnancy (under 16 weeks) and the fetus would not be considered viable. It would be difficult to pursue murder charges for something that is not considered to have a chance outside of the mother's body to begin with (unlike the boyfriend beating the mother who is 6-7 mos pregnant and inducing pre-term labor where there is a chance that the fetus could survive with medical intervention).

I'm sorry you don't feel it satisfying. You can't please everyone all the time and I won't waste my time trying to do so.

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

jaywalker (Anonymous) says…

Katara,

Thank you for your thoughtful post. That is definitely a dimension I was hoping to explore as well, that being how far along the pregnancy is, whether the mother intended to carry to term, is there a specific 'point' when it legally becomes two murders or is that a gray area, etc. More than anything I'm curious how pro-choicers 'feel' about the question rather than the actual legal statutes. Do you have an opinion on the matter? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I think viability is a reasonable standard for as close to a specific point one could get to where it legally becomes 2 murders.

I am satisfied with how the system works now with regards to the decision as to how many charges of murder or homicide are made. I feel it is a fair and reasonable way to determine it. I don't see any conflict with my pro-choice beliefs if that is what you are asking.

Sigmund 5 years, 5 months ago

"Your argument makes one very big assumption. Please show that mothers wait until late term or go through the anticipation of giving birth (decorating, registering for showers, etc) then after all that decide to have an abortion just because."

You're right that could never ever happen.

"For your interesting example of the boyfriend beating the mother until she loses her child and having an abortion appointment…if she had an appointment to have an abortion, then it would be very early on in the pregnancy (under 16 weeks) and the fetus would not be considered viable."

Once again you are correct, no women ever seeks an abortion after 16 weeks and if it happened prior to 16 weeks no DA would charge a murder even if the women wished to keep her baby.

Glad I could help clarify your thinking.

jaywalker 5 years, 5 months ago

Ad hominem? Look up the definition, I did no such thing. And if you don't want someone to respond sarcastically back at ya, don't start up with 'em. I find it hysterical when someone gets defensive because someone responded to their offensive comments in kind.

"If you were only looking for a pro choice perspective I suggest you ask your questions on a pro-choice web site. This site tends allow a diversity of opinions. This site isn't just about you,"

Gee, thanks. I wasn't aware this site allowed a diversity of opinions. And I could've sworn this site was all about me. Thank the good Lord you came along and pointed out the extraordinarily obvious.
I pointed the question to pro-choicers in hopes of avoiding confrontations that would go nowhere. Bully for you for ignoring that fact and providing nothing more than a sneer. I love and welcome other thoughtful, intelligent perspectives, Sigmund. If you have one, please offer it up. What you posted before was no such thing.

Sigmund 5 years, 5 months ago

jaywalker (Anonymous) says… "Ad hominem? Look up the definition, I did no such thing."

An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the man", "argument against the man") consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim.

Once again you are correct, nothing in donkeyhole, too stupid to type, and nut job attacks characteristics or beliefs and only addresses the substance of the remarks. With that being said, however, I completely understand if nobody feels like discussing the issue with you due to the pre-programmed vitriole they're likely to encounter.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 5 months ago

logicso: "The law is what gives murder it's definition."

It is human behavior which defines. Homicide, murder, even law are all instances of human behavior. Those who place definitions before their referents are lost to semantics.

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

Sigmund (Anonymous) says…

“Your argument makes one very big assumption. Please show that mothers wait until late term or go through the anticipation of giving birth (decorating, registering for showers, etc) then after all that decide to have an abortion just because.”

You're right that could never ever happen. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Under current law, it does not. There are very few states that allow late term abortions and they must meet certain criteria. If you want to continue your argument, prove that your scenario is happening on the level you seem to imply that it does ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sigmund (Anonymous) says…

Once again you are correct, no women ever seeks an abortion after 16 weeks and if it happened prior to 16 weeks no DA would charge a murder even if the women wished to keep her baby.

Glad I could help clarify your thinking. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I honestly feel embarrassed for you with this juvenile attempt at sarcasm. You really don't do yourself any favors by behaving this way. I will no longer waste my time engaging with you on this thread.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 5 months ago

logicso: "But that wouldn't create the same sensationalist demonization of anyone who does not agree with your view... now would it?"

,;-D

Now, that's a sensationally demonic sentiment, if ever one was expressed.

Sigmund 5 years, 5 months ago

Katara, nowhere do I claim either scenario happens at significant level as you would like to claim. The law is supposed to be as broad as possible covering as many situations as possible no matter how rarely they occur. My examples were meant to help illustrate the RARE but HARD cases on the margin where a fetus becomes a baby whose death rises to murder, or not, which is what I thought jaywalker was honestly seeking answers for.

I had hoped to more precisely restate the issue and offer how I have answered the tough question of charging two homicides for killing a pregnant women given a fetus has no legal rights no matter how viable. Nowhere did I suggest anyone should adopt my position nor that my position was correct or even the only answer. In the process I am called to stupid to type, a donkeywhole, a nut-job, juvenile, condescending and sarcastic. So my response to these characterizations should be what?

I also had hoped to steer the discussion towards a more interesting area, for me. Generally courts allow defendants to raise any defense they wish and allow the jury to judge the validity and merit of the defense given the facts of the case. I suspect that Scott Roeder will want to raise the justifiable homicide defense based upon the defense of others. In the past trial judges have refused to allow that defense to be presented to the jury for fear a pro-life jury would find a fetus is a baby and abortion is murder and then acquit the defendant, think OJ. Should judges deny this defendant the right to raise the defense of others at his trial? In what other cases should defendants be denied the right to choose their defense, or should this only be done for those accused of killing abortion doctors?

jaywalker 5 years, 5 months ago

Touche', Sigmund. That's all I wrote in that post, you're right, nothing but an attack on ya. Hope you'll be ok, punkin'.

monheim 5 years, 2 months ago

Hmmm.

I guess God(tm) forgot to put a footnote on the 3rd commandment. I guess it should read:

13 You shall not murder*.

*Except when you think it's okay

Someone help me out here. I'm a non-religious person and I'm constantly being given a hard time about how I can't POSSIBLY have any morals without God(tm).

puddleglum 5 years, 2 months ago

dude, this is so old of thread. I just wanted to leave my mark on this fire hydrant.

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