Professor Birdsong’s Allocution Case # 4


An activist abortion opponent was convicted of first degree murder and is awaiting sentencing for the killing of late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.

This case will be used to help you learn how to allocute.

Scott Roeder, 51, was  recently convicted by a jury in Wichita, Kansas of first degree murder.  Facts at trial revealed that Dr. George Tiller was a noted abortion provider.  His clinic in Wichita, Kansas was the only clinic in a several state area of the Midwest that provided late term abortions to women whose health problems prevented them from delivering a child.

Evidence further revealed that on Sunday, May 31, 2009, Scott Roeder entered Wichita’s Reformation Lutheran Church at the beginning of the 10 am service.  He then used a  handgun to shoot Dr. Tiller as he handed out church 
bulletins in the church vestibule.  Roeder assaulted two other church members who tried to stop him as he made his escape from the church.  Roeder was stopped by police and arrested three hours later near Gardner, Kansas, about 170 miles northeast of Wichita.  His last known home address was in Kansas City, Missouri.

Roeder was known in antiabortion circles as a man who believed that killing an abortion doctor is justifiable.

Testimony from his former wife and other various trial witnesses made it  appear that Roeder’s family life began unraveling more than a decade ago when he got involved with anti-government groups, and then became very religious in an “Old Testament, eye-for-an-eye way.”  The anti-tax stuff came first and then grew.  He became very anti-abortion.  It was also revealed at trial that before the murder someone using the name Scott Roeder posted comments about Dr. Tiller on anti-abortion Web sites, including one that referred to the doctor as the “concentration camp Mengele of our day” — a reference to the Nazi doctor who performed grisly medical experiments on Jews and others at Auschwitz.

In the State of Kansas one convicted of first degree murder can receive the death penalty by lethal injection, or life in prison without parole, or  a term of life in prison with eligibility for parole after serving 30 years.

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