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Roeder Trial to Commence Next Week

The trial of Scott Roeder, who has confessed to allegedly murdering George Tiller, MD, in May 2009, will begin on Monday. Final legal preparations are being made by both the prosecution and defense. Last week, the prosecution filed a motion to add 10 more witnesses to their current list of 220 witnesses. According to the Associated Press, most of those on the witness list are law enforcement officials, but that Roeder’s ex-wife, son, brother, and a woman with whom he had a child are also named. Roeder’s defense attorneys have subpoenaed former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline and Deputy Attorney General Barry Disney on the basis that because both had tried to prosecute Dr. Tiller, albeit unsuccessfully, they are able to demonstrate their belief that Tiller had broken the law, according to the Associated Press. In December, Sedgwick County District Judge Warren Wilber ruled that Roeder cannot use a necessity defense in his trial. Roeder has attempted to justify the killing as necessary to save the lives of fetuses that would be aborted. Kansas law does not recognize the necessity defense, though it can be used in instances where the defendant can demonstrate a grave imminent threat that justified immediate unlawful action. Roeder has been charged with one count of pre-meditated murder and two counts of aggravated assault for allegedly threatening church ushers immediately after the murder. Defense attorneys could argue for a lesser sentence such as voluntary manslaughter, which Kansas defines as “an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force.” Roeder could receive life in prison if he is found guilty of first-degree murder or he could receive a shorter sentence of approximately 5 years if the jury finds him guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

Sources:

Feminist Daily Newswire 12/23/09; Associated Press 1/4/10, 1/5/10

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