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Criminal Justice

Roeder Reportedly Admits Killing Abortion Doc, May Plan ‘Necessity’ Defense

Posted Nov 10, 2009 5:40 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Defendant Scott Roeder has reportedly admitted to several news organizations that he killed Dr. George Tiller as the physician was serving as an usher in his Wichita, Kan., church in May, slaying the slaying was justified because Tiller performed abortions.

The Associated Press initially broke the story, which was based on a telephone interview yesterday with Roeder, 51, from the Sedgwick County jail where he is being held in the first-degree murder case.

But although Roeder told the news agency that he intended to defend the killing in court based on "necessity," his own lawyer, public defender Steve Osburn, says no such defense is viable, reports a subsequent AP article.

"Because of the fact preborn children's lives were in imminent danger this was the action I chose. ... I want to make sure that the focus is, of course, obviously on the preborn children and the necessity to defend them," Roeder told the news agency yesterday.

Roeder has met with a Georgia lawyer, Michael Hirsh, who may be more open to the necessity defense concept, reports McClatchy Newspapers.

Meanwhile, attorney Lee Thompson, who represents the Tiller family, tells McClatchy that a legal theory defending the murder of an abortion doctor as necessary is ludicrous.

"Any pretense that it's justifiable is legally wrong and reflective of the extremism that seems to characterize this act, which is nothing more than an act of premeditated violence," he says.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Lawyer for Slain Abortion Doc Says He Never Showed Fear"

ABAJournal.com: "DOJ to Probe Abortion Doc’s Murder; When Does Protest Become Criminal?"

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