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Archive for Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Scott Roeder will testify Thursday when his defense begins to present its case

The judge in the trial for the man accused of killing Kansas abortion provider Dr. George Tiller has warned people in the courtroom about “proper decorum.”

January 27, 2010, 11:56 a.m. Updated January 27, 2010, 10:40 p.m.

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— Defense attorneys have “a formidable and daunting task” ahead if the man who has confessed to killing a Kansas abortion provider is hoping for a chance at a lesser sentence by arguing he sincerely believed his actions were necessary to save unborn children, a judge said Wednesday.

Scott Roeder will take the witness stand to testify on his own behalf, attorney Steve Osburn told The Associated Press in the wake of a heated hearing about which defense evidence jurors will be allowed to hear.

Osburn said the defense expects to present its case in a single day today.

Roeder, 51, is charged with premeditated, first-degree murder in the May 31 shooting of Dr. George Tiller, one of the nation’s few late-term abortion providers. The Kansas City, Mo., man also was charged with two counts of aggravated assault for allegedly using a gun to threaten two ushers who tried to stop him.

Attorney Mark Rudy confirmed to the court for the first time Wednesday that the defense would build a case based on the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter — defined in Kansas as “an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force.”

A voluntary manslaughter conviction for someone with little criminal history carries a sentence of about five years, compared to the life sentence Roeder faces if convicted of first-degree murder.

District Judge Warren Wilbert reminded attorneys they must couple a voluntary manslaughter defense with a showing of imminent danger posed by the doctor. Wilbert will rule at the end of the defense’s case whether there is sufficient evidence to instruct jurors that they can consider the lesser charge.

Comments

Richard Payton 4 years, 10 months ago

Which Lawrence pawn shop had Scott Roeder's 22 pistol? Some pawn shop person was testify at Scott Roeder's trial yesterday. Heard a brief part of the testimony on the radio.

madameX 4 years, 10 months ago

What on earth is the legal justification for allowing Phil Kline to testify?

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 10 months ago

Phill Kline. Legal right? yes. Justification? Probably none but that doesn't make a difference. Defense is going to do their best to turn this trial from one about murder into a three ring circus about abortion and Kline has always been the ringmaster where that particular subject is concerned. However, the judge has yet to rule whether Kline can testify.The judge has made it very clear that he won't permit the trial to be about anything but the murder. If Kline doesn't have anything to add to the defense that's relevant to that point then I highly doubt Kline will be allowed to testify.

madameX 4 years, 10 months ago

Okay, they must have edited the article, because that's not what it said when I posted the first time. Thanks for the clarification, LJ World.

ozmaster2 4 years, 10 months ago

In the headline it should read "its" rather than "it's".

BrianR 4 years, 10 months ago

"What on earth is the legal justification for allowing Phil Kline to testify?"

I don't know but I'm sure Kline secretly lauds Roeder's assassination of Tiller making Kline and Roeder two peas in a pod.

ralphralph 4 years, 10 months ago

I don't see the point in allowing this defense claim. It cannot be justified. I'm no Tiller fan -- I think he was a sleeze who got rich killing babies and stayed in business by paying off politicians like former Gov Chatty Kathy -- and now he's a dead sleeze. That said, the remedy to bad conduct is to change the law and/or enforce the law; it is not to kill the person you think is violating the law. Bottom line: This was an assassination. There can be no justification of it as anything else. The judge erred in allowing the defense to present the theory, and thus, the circus is on.

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