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.”