Defense Move Rejected In Abortion Provider's Killing Scott Roeder admitted he killed George Tiller at the doctor's church last May. A judge ruled, however, that the jury would not be able to consider second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter as a defense because Tiller posed no imminent threat when Roeder shot him. Those charges would have carried a much lighter sentence than premeditated murder.
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Defense Move Rejected In Abortion Provider's Killing

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Defense Move Rejected In Abortion Provider's Killing

Defense Move Rejected In Abortion Provider's Killing

Defense Move Rejected In Abortion Provider's Killing

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/123081515/123082623" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Scott Roeder, shown during his final pretrial motions earlier this month, is charged with the first-degree murder of Wichita doctor George Tiller. Mike Hutmacher/AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle hide caption

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Mike Hutmacher/AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle

Scott Roeder, shown during his final pretrial motions earlier this month, is charged with the first-degree murder of Wichita doctor George Tiller.

Mike Hutmacher/AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

In a Wichita court today, Scott Roeder admitted killing doctor and abortion provider George Tiller. Roeder testified that he believes abortion is murder and that he wanted to stop Tiller.

At question now is whether jurors will be allowed to consider a sentence of voluntary manslaughter for Roeder instead of first-degree murder.

NPR's Kathy Lohr was in the courtroom and she has this report.

KATHY LOHR: Roeder began his testimony saying he did not deny any evidence the prosecution has put on: the facts related to the shooting of Tiller.

Defense attorney Mark Rudy asked Roeder a series questions about whether he bought the .22-caliber handgun used in the shooting, whether he spent the night at a Wichita hotel, and finally whether he shot Tiller at his church on May 31. Roeder answered yes to each question.

Mr.�MARK RUDY (Attorney): Again, is it fair to say, with very, very limited exceptions, you don't dispute or disagree with any of the evidence presented from the state through their witnesses and exhibits?

Mr.�SCOTT ROEDER: I do not.

LOHR: Roeder testified that he became a Christian in 1992 and began learning more about abortion. He says he believes abortion is murder and that he began protesting outside clinics, including Tiller's in Wichita.

His defense attorneys painted a picture of Roeder as a man increasingly upset about abortion and asked him to explain what he knew about it. Roeder began a list of four or five types of abortion but was abruptly stopped by objections from the prosecution.

Mr.�ROEDER: Partial-birth abortion, forceps, where they go in and tear the baby limit from limb.

Unidentified Woman: Objection, your honor.

The Honorable WARREN WILBERT: And the jury is admonished to disregard that answer. Mr.�Roeder, I'm going to tell you right now you cannot discuss specifics of medical procedures.

Mr.�ROEDER: Okay.

The Hon. WILBERT: That's outside the scope of what's relevant material, and you certainly don't have the medical background to testify to those.