James Kopp Loses Bid to Dismiss Federal Trial for Murder of Abortion Provider

A federal judge refused to dismiss charges against James Kopp, the convicted killer of abortion provider Barnett Slepian, MD, for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. US District Judge Richard Arcara also denied Kopp’s intention to argue that the shooting was justified because Kopp was only trying to save the lives of fetuses, according to the Associated Press. Arcara ruled that the necessity defense is not applicable in cases such as this one, where the defendant was trying to prevent legal actions, AP reports. Kopp, who is preparing his own defense, will also be barred from using graphic anti-abortion photos or his religious or moral beliefs against abortion in his defense, as Judge Arcara ruled they are irrelevant, AP reports.

The Buffalo News reports that, according to Kopp, federal prosecutors have offered him a deal in which he can avoid solitary confinement and instead serve out his prison sentence in a medium-security prison if he pleads guilty to the federal charges. Kopp has already been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in Erie County, New York for the 1998 murder of Dr. Slepian, the maximum penalty allowable under the law.

Kopp, known as “Atomic Dog” within the anti-abortion extremist group Army of God, was a fugitive for two-and-a-half years following the murder of Dr. Slepian. During this time, he was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List until he was finally apprehended in France in 2001. Kopp has also been indicted for the 1995 shooting of Ontario abortion provider Dr. Hugh Short, and he is the primary suspect in three separate shootings of abortion providers in Canada and New York.

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Associated Press 12/7/06; Buffalo News 12/7/06; Feminist Majority Foundation

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