Abortionist killer Scott Roeder convicted

By  Catholic News Service
  • February 4, 2010
{mosimage}WICHITA, Kan. - A Kansas jury deliberated just under 40 minutes before convicting a man of first-degree murder for killing an abortion provider.

The jury found Scott Roeder, 51, guilty of murdering Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas abortion doctor who operated a clinic in Wichita where late-term abortions were performed. Roeder faces life in prison, with the possibility of parole after 25 years; he is to be sentenced March 9.

Roeder had confessed publicly before the trial and admitted again on the witness stand, according to The Associated Press, that he shot Tiller in the head in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita where the doctor was serving as an usher. He testified that he believed the lives of unborn children were in “immediate danger” because of Tiller.

Roeder also was convicted of aggravated assault for pointing a gun at two ushers at Tiller’s church after the shooting.

AP reported that Roeder sat straightforward as the verdict was read and showed no visible reaction.

Pro-life advocates universally condemned Tiller’s murder of the Kansas abortion doctor and officials from several U.S. right-to-life groups said such extreme acts only hurt the pro-life cause.

Tiller’s clinic was one of just a few in the nation where abortions were performed after the 21st week of pregnancy. He had been a target of abortion opponents since the 1970s. He was shot in both arms by a protester in 1993 and his clinic was bombed in 1985.

Catholic bishops in Kansas and neighbouring Colorado quickly condemned the murder, stating that although they vigourously oppose abortion, violence against those who perform the procedures is counterproductive and contrary to Catholic teaching.

“Many Catholics have over the years engaged in peaceful protest outside of Dr. Tiller’s clinic, praying for an end to abortion, and especially late-term abortions. I have on occasion joined them for this purpose,” said Bishop Michael O. Jackels of Wichita.

“This position and hope cannot, however, serve as a justification for committing other sins and crimes, like the willful destruction of property and, even worse, murder.”

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