Jury Convicts Roeder of Murdering Abortion Doc

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After deliberating for less than an hour, a jury today found Scott Roeder guilty of murdering a Kansas doctor who provided abortions, by shooting him as he attended church in Wichita with his wife.

Roeder, 51, had confessed publicly prior to trial and admitted during his testimony that he shot Dr. George Tiller. Although his defense had argued that the jury should be allowed to convict him of manslaughter because he beleived he was saving the lives of unborn children, the judge yesterday rejected that argument, saying that abortion is legal.

Roeder faces a mandatory life prison term when he is sentenced in March on his first-degree premeditated murder conviction, under which he might qualify for parole after 25 years. However, the prosecutor in the case says she will seek a so-called “hard 50,” requiring Roeder to serve at least 50 years in prison before he can be released, reports the Associated Press.

Roeder also was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault for pointing a gun at two ushers at the church after he shot Tiller.

The Kansas City Star provides a video clip of the verdict.

Additional coverage:

National Public Radio: “The Nation: Dangerous Parallels In Murder Trial”

Wichita Eagle: Roeder trial updates [includes video and photo slide shows]: “Jury finds Scott Roeder guilty of first-degree murder in death of George Tiller”

Updated at 6:23 p.m. to clarify potential parole date.

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