Criminal Justice

Roeder Gets Harshest Possible 'Hard 50' Life Term in Kansas Abortion Doc Murder

Updated: Facing a mandatory life sentence for the murder of a Kansas abortion doctor in a Wichita church, Scott Roeder got the harshest possible sentence today—life with the possibility of parole only after 50 years.

Alternatively, Sedgwick County District Judge Warren Wilbert could have given Roeder a sentence allowing parole after 25 years. However, the judge noted that Roeder had stalked his victim, Dr. George Tiller, thus qualifying for the so-called Hard 50, reports the Associated Press.

Earlier, Wilbert warned Roeder after an outburst today that he would be removed from court if he didn’t behave, according to another AP article.

Roeder, whose age is variously given in news accounts at 51 or 52, admittedly shot and killed the the late-term abortion provider as he attended church services last May. However, Roeder claimed he acted justifiably to protect the lives of unborn babies.

At one point during the hearing today, as a prosecutor asked a Topeka psychologist how Roeder could argue that he is following “God’s law” while violating the deity’s commandment not to murder, Roeder shouted in response: “To protect unborn babies,” the news agency recounts.

The judge then warned Roeder that he would be removed if he interrupted again before the point at which he was allowed to address the court.

Additional coverage:

Wichita Eagle: “Scott Roeder sentencing update: Attorney gives statement on behalf of George Tiller’s family”

Updated at 6:03 p.m. to include news of sentence imposed on Roeder.

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