Kansas is not a death penalty state (surprised? I was), but it does have a mandatory life sentence for first-degree murder, the crime Roeder was convicted of last January (plus two counts of attempted murder of the witnesses, additional year each for those).
The only discretion the judge, Warren Wilbert, had in sentencing was whether to grant eligibility for parole after 25 years or after 50 years, the so-called 'Hard Fifty'.
The judge figured that stalking the doctor for months and choosing to kill him at his church because his clinic was 'like a fortress' -- gee, who's to blame for that? -- merited the extra 25.
At the sentencing hearing, the judge allowed a couple of fellow and sister fetus fetishists to testify -- as long as they stuck to Roeder's character and stayed off the subject of abortion, which they seemed to have done.
Then he let Roeder himself speak.
In his statement before the court Thursday, Roeder said he didn't think he deserved the Hard 50. He claimed his views had been silenced by the court. He described late-term abortion procedures. He claimed he killed Tiller "so he couldn't kill again." The decision was to do so was most agonizing. He called Tiller a "hit man" for the state of Kansas and spoke of judgment day coming and God avenging the deaths of aborted babies. Then he started reading from 'Why shoot an abortionist?' by Paul Hill, who was executed for murdering an abortion provider.
And it went on and on and on. It was as if Roeder were trying to filibuster his way out.
Judge Warren Wilbert grew tired of it all.
It ended thus:
The judge and defendant engaged in a dialogue when Wilbert stopped Roeder from criticizing a sitting district attorney.
"If you were to obey the higher power of God, you would acquit me," Roeder said.
"If you think you were going to convince me with some oratory plea, it's not going to happen," Wilbert said.
There are other accounts of his biblical ravings, complaints about not being allowed to show aborted fetus pr0n to the court, and his likening of himself to jeezuz, which I'll spare you.
All of which prompted a a columnist in the Kansas City Tribune to claim that the sentence was wrong. Roeder is nuts, he says, and should have presented an insanity defense.
If Roeder is mad, it's a virulent and common strain of insanity, particularly in the Excited States. Viz., the Tea-Baggers.
Let's have a look at LifeShite's spin:
Scott Roeder, the former militia activist not affiliated with any pro-life organization, was sentenced to life in prison today for the 2009 murder of late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller.
The rest of the piece makes absolutely no mention of his ranting, his claims to Christianism, or reading of Paul Hill's book. Just a simple murder, justice done, nothing to see here, move along, folks.
What we at DJ! want to know is: are there conspiracy charges in the works for his f.f.friends? And how about federal charges under the FACE Act? Yes, FACE is meant to protect clinics and Dr Tiller was murdered at his church, but couldn't there be a cogent argument made that FACE applies precisely because Dr Tiller and other abortion doctors are forced to turn their clinics into fortresses, a fact FACE's existence recognizes? And therefore determined assassins must stalk their victims to other killing zones?
I'm wondering, though, if the additional 25 years will act as a deterrent to other would-be martyrs. Would someone stop and think: 'OK, I'm prepared to risk throwing away 25 years of my life, but 50? Hell, no!'
I don't think so, either.