After deliberating for only 37 minutes, a Kansas jury found Scott Roeder guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of George Tiller.
Roeder, 51, took the witness stand Thursday and admitted killing Tiller, who was one of the few doctors in the country to perform late-term abortions.
“I did what I thought was needed to be done to protect the children,” said Roeder. “I shot him.”
Roeder said he was not remorseful. After the killing, which took place in Tiller’s church, Roeder said he felt “a sense of relief.”
Roeder was also found guilty of two counts of aggravated assault. Sentencing is set for March 9. District Attorney Nola Foulston said she would be requesting the “Hard 50,” meaning Roeder would not be eligible for parole for 50 years.
The Wichita Eagle has a good collection of background information and trial stories, along with links to other media coverage and related abortion issues.
Jeanne Tiller, George Tiller’s widow, and the Tiller family, released this statement:
“The family of Dr. George Tiller would like to thank the jury, District Attorney Nola Foulston and her office and law enforcement for their service in this difficult matter. Once again, a Sedgwick County jury has reached a just verdict. We also want to thank George’s countless friends and supporters in Wichita and around the country who have offered their comfort.
“At this time we hope that George can be remembered for his legacy of service to women, the help he provided for those who needed it and the love and happiness he provided us as a husband, father and grandfather.”
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, issued the following statement in response to the conviction:
“The jury examined the facts of this case and rightfully convicted Scott Roeder for the brutal murder of Dr. George Tiller inside his church in Kansas. Our thoughts are with Dr. Tiller’s family and friends. Even though this conviction brings a murderer to justice, it won’t replace the husband, father, and grandfather they lost last May. Dr. Tiller was a tireless advocate for reproductive health who called on us to ‘trust women’ to make the personal, private decisions that are best for them and their families. We will continue to honor his legacy of compassion and resolve.
“We also call on opponents of a woman’s right to choose to end the practice of inflammatory rhetoric and tactics that inspire this kind of violent action from the most extreme factions of the anti-choice movement. No other abortion provider’s family should have to endure the tragedy of seeing their loved one killed for providing an essential and legal health service to women.”