Thursday, December 24, 2009

Judge Rejects Necessity Defense in Trial for Murder of Dr. Tiller

Chicago Tribune: NATION: Judge in abortion case rejects defense strategy:

Gavel & scales A judge ruled Tuesday that Kansas law does not allow a so-called necessity defense in the trial of a man charged with killing one of the nation's few late-term abortion providers.

The decision was another blow to lawyers for 51-year-old Scott Roeder, who has confessed to shooting Dr. George Tiller on May 31 and says it was necessary to save "unborn children.". . .

LA Times: Man accused of killing abortion doctor George Tiller to go on trial in January:

A district judge in Kansas rules that Scott Roeder will be allowed to argue that he killed the doctor to save fetuses, but he cannot use the 'necessity defense.'

Wichita, Kan. - A district judge ruled Tuesday that the man accused of killing abortion provider George Tiller would go on trial here next month, but he disallowed use of the "necessity defense."

Judge Warren Wilbert said he would "leave the door open" for Scott Roeder to present other evidence and arguments that he killed the Wichita doctor in the belief that he was saving the lives of fetuses. That means Roeder's public defenders could ask jurors to consider crimes less than first-degree premeditated murder.

Kansas law, for example, defines voluntary manslaughter as the "unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force." A conviction of voluntary manslaughter would carry a sentence of fewer than 10 years in prison for Roeder, compared with a life sentence for murder.

Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, In the Courts, State and Local News | Permalink

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