Archive for Saturday, January 23, 2010

Testimony begins in Tiller trial

Protesters marched in the capitol Friday on the 37th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. The first evidence in the Tiller trial was also heard.

January 23, 2010


— On the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, prosecutors who charged a man with killing one of the nation’s few late-term abortion providers got through the first day of testimony without mentioning the word abortion in front of jurors.

They began presenting a murder case focused on emotional eyewitness testimony, recordings of frantic 911 calls and photos of Dr. George Tiller’s body lying in a pool of blood in his church foyer.

DNA evidence linking Tiller to confessed killer Scott Roeder, forensic analyses of bullet casings and video of Roeder at local hotels are expected to follow in the prosecutors’ case — but no mention of abortion, at least for as long as they can avoid it.

Still, what lawyers simply called the “a-word” when the jury was not present was the most contentious issue in court Friday. And its absence from the transcript could change when Roeder’s defense team has a chance to try to argue he believed the killing was justified to save unborn children.

District Attorney Nola Foulston’s opening statement methodically outlined the events prosecutors hope will convince jurors to return a premeditated, first-degree murder verdict, rather than a lesser voluntary manslaughter conviction expected to be sought by the defense.

Roeder’s attorneys are keeping their defense strategy under wraps until the last possible minute, deferring their opening statement until they are ready to put on their entire case.

At one point Friday, District Judge Warren Wilbert stopped defense attorney Mark Rudy from using the word abortion when cross-examining a witness who had not first used it himself.

If the witness brings it up, “that’s fair game, and you can explore it,” Wilbert said.

Paul Ryding testified he had an “awkward conversation” with Roeder when Roeder came to church services six months before the shooting. Ryding said he had a feeling Roeder had “an agenda,” without explaining what he thought that might be.

But Ryding steadfastly skirted the word abortion when pressed.

Wilbert has repeatedly said the trial will not turn into a battle over abortion. But he galvanized both sides of the debate when he refused to bar the defense from trying for a conviction on the lesser charge by arguing Roeder believed Tiller’s killing would save unborn children.

The judge has said he will rule at the time the defense presents its evidence about how much jurors will be allowed to hear.


mr_right_wing 8 years, 3 months ago

It makes me sick that infanticide is actually legal in this country. We're more concerned about dogs and cats being put to sleep than we are in the murder of innocent defenseless babies.

However, we must correct this as a society, not by vigilantes bombing clinics and killing doctors who are doing what is (very shamefully) legal.

Planned Parenthood had it's start as a strictly RACIST organization, and now they protect rapists and pedophiles! It is a completely disgusting, despicable organization completely void of any redeeming value; but it should not be bombed. Doing that puts you on the same level as any terrorist. A woman still has the (misguided) right to kill her child and destroy part of her own soul/humanity

storm 8 years, 3 months ago

LJWorld...misleading headline...Dr. Tiller was the victim...Mr. Roeder is on trial.

tomatogrower 8 years, 3 months ago

"Men Regret Lost Fatherhood"? Roeder wouldn't even support his own kid. Maybe he should have concetrated on being a father. Many women get abortions when the father of the baby wants nothing to do with them or the baby, they just wanted the sex. And are rapists just looking to be fathers? Disgusting. Look at all these guys trying to tell women what they can or can't do with their own bodies.

Jersey_Girl 8 years, 3 months ago

If the men regret lost fatherhood so much, then they should go adopt some of the unwanted children out there in need of a good home instead of trying to force women to produce more.

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