Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dr. Tiller's Assassin Pleads Not Guilty

The lawyer for Dr. Tiller's assassin thought it significant to elicit testimony from the eyewitness to the murder that he heard the assassin say something along the line of "Lord, Forgive me."

Since Dr. Tiller's assassin did nothing wrong why would he need to ask for forgiveness?

In any case, I wonder if this is an indication of the strategy the defense might plan to use. Something along the lines of: The Lord told him to do it, so, since he's taking instructions from voices in his head, clearly he's mentally incompetent. We shall see.

The man accused of killing Kansas late-term abortion provider George Tiller has pleaded not guilty.

Authorities say anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder (ROH'-der) also threatened two ushers who tried to stop him during the May 31 shooting in the doctor's church in Wichita. Roeder is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the slaying.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges on Tuesday after witnesses gave chilling testimony at a preliminary hearing. A judge ordered Roeder held on $20 million bond and set a trial date for Sept. 21.


An usher at the church where abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was shot to death testified Tuesday that he and the doctor were chatting when a man walked through the door, put a gun to Tiller's head and shot him.

Gary Hoepner was the first witness called at a preliminary hearing for Scott Roeder, a Kansas City, Mo., man charged with murdering Tiller on May 31 at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, where Tiller volunteered as an usher.


Hoepner, who testified for about 90 minutes, said he wasn't sure if the weapon used to kill Tiller was real until he saw Tiller fall to the ground. He said he followed the shooter, whom he identified as Roeder, out of the church but stopped after Roeder warned him.

"`I've got a gun and I'll shoot you,'" Hoepner recalled the gunman saying. "I believed him and I stopped."

He said he later called police to give them the license plate number on the shooter's car.

Defense attorney Steve Osburn said some of Hoepner's testimony was based on assumptions, including whether the gunman spoke directly to the other usher.

Osburn also asked Hoepner if he told police he heard the gunman say something along the line of "Lord, Forgive me."

Hoepner said he did.

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