Friday, January 29, 2010

Dr. Tiller's Assassin Found Guilty

Forty minutes for first-degree murder:

(CNN) -- A Kansas jury deliberated just 40 minutes before convicting a man who said he killed to stop abortions guilty of first-degree murder.

The jury found Scott Roeder, 51, guilty of gunning down Dr. George Tiller, who operated a clinic in Wichita where late-term abortions were performed. Roeder, 51, faces life in prison when he is sentenced on March 9.

There's also a brief discussion in the article on why the judge rejected the voluntary manslaughter defense--1) no imminent danger, and 2) performing abortions is legal:

[Dr. Tiller's assassin's] testimony was intended just as much for the jury as it was to convince Judge Warren Wilbert that evidence existed to support a possible conviction of voluntary manslaughter. A conviction on the lesser offense, which is defined as "an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force," would have set Roeder free from prison after five years.

Earlier in the trial, Wilbert said he would rule after hearing evidence in the case, acknowledging that he felt the defense faced "an uphill battle." Ultimately, he rejected the theory, saying testimony did not support the defense claim that Roeder's beliefs justified using deadly force against Tiller.

"There is no imminence of danger on a Sunday morning in the back of a church, let alone any unlawful conduct, given that what Tiller did at his clinic Monday through Friday is lawful in Kansas," the judge said.

ETA: I just saw this, from an AP article on the sentencing:

Roeder, the lone defense witness, testified Thursday that he considered elaborate schemes to stop Tiller, including chopping off his hands, crashing a car into him or sneaking into his home to kill him.

But in the end, Roeder told jurors, the easiest way was to walk into Tiller's church, put a gun to the man's forehead and pull the trigger.

"Those children were in immediate danger if someone did not stop George Tiller," Roeder said. "They were going to continue to die."

In addition to the Talibanesque plan to chop off Dr. Tiller's hands, what jumped out at me is the fact that for Dr. Tiller's assassin the uterine containers aren't even part of his bizarre belief system.

Because if your belief system allows that, you know, sentient pregnant women do, indeed, roam freely amongst us then you'd have to acknowledge that the way to indulge your belief about imaginary children in immediate danger is to go after the pregnant women themselves.

Maybe chop off the pregnant women's hands so they can't sign the consent form, or shoot non-pregnant females of reproductive age in the head preventively, or, better yet, kidnap pregnant patients, strap them down, forcibly insert an IV and a feeding tube and make them carry the pregnancy to term and deliver.

Hmm, on second thought, maybe it's for the best that people like Dr. Tiller's assassin don't believe that pregnant women capable of making decisions actually exist.

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