Scott Roeder convicted of murdering abortion doctor George Tiller

In a trial that never became the referendum on abortion that some abortion foes wanted, Scott Roeder, a 51-year-old airport shuttle driver, was convicted today of murdering George Tiller, one the nation’s few physicians who performed late-term abortions.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for only 37 minutes. Roeder faces life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder.

Roeder also was convicted on two counts of aggravated assault for threatening to shoot church ushers Keith Martin and Gary Hoepner as he fled Reformation Lutheran Church after murdering Tiller.

Whether Roeder shot Tiller at point-blank range in the forehead at Tiller’s church in Wichita last May was never at issue; Roeder had admitted it to reporters, in court filings and finally to a jury on Thursday. He also said he had been stalking Tiller since at least 1999.

Jury finds Scott Roeder guilty of first-degree murder in death of George Tiller

The Wichita Eagle, By Ron Sylvester, January 29

Wichita, KS – The jury has found Scott Roeder guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Wichita abortion provider George Tiller.

The jury also found Roeder guilty of two counts of aggravated assault.

Sentencing is set for 8:45 a.m. March 9.

Roeder faces life in prison. District Attorney Nola Foulston said she would be requesting the Hard 50 for Roeder, meaning he would not be eligible for parole for 50 years.

This morning, Lee Thompson and Dan Monnat, Tiller’s attorneys, released a statement at the request of Jeanne Tiller, George Tiller’s widow, and the Tiller family:

“The family of Dr. George Tiller would like to thank the jury, District Attorney Nola Foulston and her office and law enforcement for their service in this difficult matter. Once again, a Sedgwick County jury has reached a just verdict. We also want to thank George’s countless friends and supporters in Wichita and around the country who have offered their comfort.

“At this time we hope that George can be remembered for his legacy of service to women, the help he provided for those who needed it and the love and happiness he provided us as a husband, father and grandfather.”


“Scott Roeder is not a justified man,” she said. “He is simply guilty.”

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  • McClatchy, By Tim Potter, January 31

    WICHITA, KS — Abortion never came up in jurors’ brief deliberations Friday at the end of Scott Roeder’s trial in the murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, according to the jury’s foreman.

    “It was never spoken of,” said the 54-year-old, whose first service as a juror came in a trial that drew reporters and activists on both sides of the abortion issue from coast to coast.

    He said the jury discussed only the question of whether Roeder was guilty of first-degree murder for shooting Tiller while Tiller served as an usher in his Wichita church, and whether Roeder was guilty of aggravated assault for pointing a handgun at two people who tried to block his escape.

    Because of security concerns, the juror asked that his name not be used. He said he didn’t want to take any chances that someone might lash out against him.

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • GQ, By Devin Freidman, February 2010

    Both men believed they were doing right: Dr. George Tiller was one of the last men in America willing to provide late-term abortions. Scott Roeder was convinced that killing his kind was the duty of the righteous. As Tiller’s murder case goes to trial, and after hours of interviews with the accused, Devin Friedman re-creates the fateful day their paths—and their convictions—finally crossed

    Scott Roeder woke up in the motel room in Wichita on Sunday morning. It was past nine, and he was still in his pajamas under the bedspread. He had packed a small suitcase and brought his sleep-apnea machine. He never went a night without that. It was part of the reason he’d slept well. Plus, he hadn’t felt at all speedy or preoccupied last night, like he sometimes did. If he was nervous, it was only that the thing wouldn’t go off as planned. He lazed about in the room for a while, just kind of zoning. It wasn’t until nine thirty that he realized: The service at Reformation Lutheran starts at ten! Not ten thirty! He’d been there half a dozen times. He’d been there just last Sunday. But still, for some reason, he had it in his head that it was ten thirty. He could get distracted, and he wasn’t always good with details, last names, that kind of thing. Besides, even if he planned everything perfectly, there was no guarantee that today, Sunday, May 31, would be the day. He’d been out to Wichita to kill Dr. George Tiller last Sunday, too, and Dr. Tiller wasn’t even there.

    The motel he’d picked—probably the Starlight, he couldn’t remember the name—was just ten minutes from the church, but he’d still have to hurry. He put on a wrinkled white dress shirt, some dark slacks, and black shoes. He didn’t have to check out, because he’d paid in cash for his room the night before. For a long time he was philosophically opposed to having a credit card, because of the vapor trails of data it attached to you, all part of the government/corporate apparatus that bled you dry. And now, since he hadn’t paid taxes in seventeen years and never held a job for very long, getting approved for one was difficult, anyway. He packed his toothbrush and jogged out to the parking lot in incredible sunlight, carrying his apnea machine, got in the ’93 Ford Taurus his brother had given him a few years back, and pulled out onto the street. It was the nicest day of the year so far. The air was weightless and warm, and the sun had lost the paleness of early spring. He rolled down the window as he drove on the Wichita grid and thought about the fact that he could very well be in jail by tonight.

    Scott had thought about killing Dr. Tiller for a long time, probably since 1993, if he had to put a date on it. The woman who’d shot George Tiller in both arms that year was in the prison up in Topeka for a while, and Scott had been to visit her at least twenty-five times. Sometimes the idea of killing him would be more powerful and motivating than others. In 1996 he was pulled over for having “sovereign” license plates he’d installed instead of plates the state issued, and the police found bomb-making materials in his car, which he later told his son were meant for an abortion clinic, though he never said which one. In the past few years he’d come up with a few brainstorms on how to kill Tiller. He had one idea where he wouldn’t actually kill him, just cut off his hands with a sword or machete or something, but that was problematic.1 He’d also considered murdering him at his house. He’d driven by the Tillers’, but they lived in a gated community, with a high wall. Probably the most involved plan was this scenario where Scott would buy a high-powered sniper’s rifle, climb onto the roof of the office at the abandoned car lot across the street from the clinic, and shoot George Tiller as he drove into his parking lot.2 In the end, though, he decided the simplest thing was to do it at Dr. Tiller’s church.

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • The Kansas City Star, By Judy L. Thomas, April 1

    Scott Roeder almost certainly will spend the rest of his life in prison for shooting Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller to death last May.

    After a day-long hearing, Sedgwick County District Judge Warren Wilbert late today handed down a “Hard 50” sentence, requring Roeder serve at least 50 years before he can be considered for parole.

    Roeder, 52, of Kansas City, was found guilty of first-degree murder on Jan. 29 after testifying at his trial that he shot Tiller in the forehead on May 31 while Tiller was serving as an usher in his church. An unapologetic Roeder told jurors he did so to save the lives of unborn babies.

    Jurors also convicted Roeder of two counts of aggravated assault for threatening two other ushers who chased him as he fled Tiller’s church after the shooting. He was to 24 additional months for those crimes.

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • Kan. abortion clinic remodeling to meet new regs

    AP, By Roxana Hegeman, January 8

    Wichita, KS – The former Wichita clinic of slain abortion provider George Tiller is being remodeled to meet strict Kansas regulations as the abortion-rights group that bought the building prepares to open it for the first time since the doctor was gunned down in 2009 by an anti-abortion activist.

    The work is taking place amid growing public opposition by anti-abortion activists who mounted a petition drive Tuesday seeking to rezone the area in a desperate effort to block the opening of a family and women’s health center that will offer abortions, among other services. The Wichita-based nonprofit Trust Women Foundation Inc. purchased the building in late August.

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