Tuesday, November 29, 2016
CO Planned Parenthood Shooter Still Awaits Trial; Dr. Tiller's Murderer Gets a Lighter Sentence
Rewire (November 28, 2016): A Year After the Colorado Planned Parenthood Shootings, Still No Trial in Sight, by Jessica Mason Pieklo:
On November 17, 2015, Robert Lewis Dear, Jr. opened fire in a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, killing three people. He faces 179 criminal counts, including murder and attempted murder. However, he still not been brought to trial because District Court Judge Gilbert Martinez has found that Dear is not mentally competent to stand trial.
Dear's statements and actions suggest that he was fully aware of his actions and that he carefully planned his attack. He has asserted that his acts were justified to to prevent legal abortions. Although Dear's attorneys have maintained the insanity defense. Dear has indicated that he wants to go to trial. He faces another competency evaluation in early 2017.
Meanwhile, Scott Roeder who shot and killed Dr. George Tiller in 2009 recently had his sentence reduced. Dr. Tiller was one of a few doctors performing late-term abortions and was shot while ushering in his church. When Roeder was convicted of first degree murder in 2010, the judge imposed an "upward departure" from the guidelines because of the disturbing nature of the crime, imposing a 50 year sentence with no chance of parole. Because a 2013 Supreme Court case now requires that such sentences be imposed by juries and not judges, Roeder was scheduled to have a jury re-sentence him. In order to avoid the resentencing, the state withdrew its request for a 50 year sentence. As a result Roeder will be eligible for parole after serving 25 years.
The state's decision denies Roeder a public platform to disseminate his views. Roeder has stated he has no regrets and was looking forward to being "another voice for the unborn." District Attorney Marc Bennett told CBS News that Roeder has prostate problems and that his declining health makes it unlikely that he will ever get out of prison.
Bennett also read a statement from Tiller’s family saying nothing will change the fact Tiller was assassinated, and the family continues to grieve his loss. The family cited the “very difficult and emotionally draining trial” in which Roeder was found guilty, and thanked people involved with ensuring it was a fair trial.