The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

State News

April 1, 2010

Kansas: Abortion doctor’s murderer gets life prison term

The Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. — Defiant to the end, an anti-abortion zealot who murdered one of the few U.S. doctors who performed late-term abortions was sentenced Thursday to life in prison and won’t be eligible for parole for 50 years — the maximum allowed by law.

Scott Roeder, 52, faced a mandatory life prison term for gunning down Dr. George Tiller in the back of Tiller’s Wichita church last May. He showed no remorse during the daylong sentencing hearing and sought to justify his crime by describing abortion procedures in gritty and graphic detail.

“I stopped him so he could not dismember another innocent baby,” Roeder said. “Wichita is a far safer place for unborn babies without George Tiller.”

Sedgwick County District Judge Warren Wilbert had the choice to make Roeder eligible for parole after 25 or 50 years, but said he gave him the harsher sentence because evidence showed Roeder stalked Tiller before killing him. As he was being led away in handcuffs, Roeder shouted, “Blood of babies on your hands.”

Wilbert also sentenced Roeder to serve an additional year in prison on each of two counts of aggravated assault for threatening two church ushers in the melee. Allowing for possible time off those sentences for good behavior, Roeder won’t be eligible for parole for 51 years and eight months.

In a rambling statement, Roeder — who at trial testified that he killed Tiller to save unborn children — blamed Tiller’s death primarily on the state for not outlawing abortion. He interrupted Wilbert several times as the judge discussed the sentence from the bench. As Wilbert read from a previous court decision saying that allowing vigilantism would promote chaos, Roeder said, “Baby murder is anarchy and chaos.”

Forty minutes into his remarks, Wilbert stopped Roeder as he was about to publicly attack District Attorney Nola Foulston.

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