James Kopp, accused of the 1998 murderer of New York abortionist Dr. Barnett Slepian, claims he was in Pittsburgh during the time investigators believe he was in Tennessee purchasing a weapon. Doris Grady, who has known Kopp since 1988, claims Kopp was at her Pittsburgh home “that whole week.” She has provided receipts dated July 17, 1997 for a permit to build a fence on her property, and is “certain” that Kopp helped her to undertake the project on July 16. This is the same day the FBI says Kopp was at a pawn shop 550 miles away in Old Hickory, Tenn., to purchase the SKS rifle used to murder the abortion provider. Grady’s husband and anti-abortion activist Walter Bechtell support Grady’s claims.
Despite the new alibi, Kopp’s legal team must still address “personal effects attributable to Kopp” that were found buried near the crime scene, as well as a hand-written note allegedly found among Kopp’s possessions, which contained directions to the pawn shop where the weapon was purchased. Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark said “it will be a jury’s job to determine what’s fact and what’s fiction. I can tell you, however, this does not shake the confidence I have in this case one whit.”