Monday, 1 February 2010

Roeder Verdict

I've already said that I've been a bad blogger lately. So, catching up.

The Roeder verdict.

To no one's surprise, he was found guilty. What has been commented on is the speed.
The jury took just 37 minutes to convict born-again Christian Scott Roeder for shooting George Tiller, 67, in the forehead as he attended church last May. Roeder, a 51-year-old airport shuttle driver, faces a mandatory life sentence with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

While there was some alarm when the -- as it turns out, very conscientious -- judge allowed the defendant to offer his 'justification' for the assassination, after Roeder's testimony the judge nixed that.
"It would be hard for a reasonable fact-finder to find anything other than the defendant formulating his belief and then planning on multiple occasions ... to carry out his intention to [kill] Dr Tiller," the judge said. Roeder did not deny it.

One wonders why Roeder didn't go for the mad as a hatter defence.
He told the court that he had made up his mind 17 years ago to kill Tiller, who was one of only three doctors in the US to carry out abortions late in a pregnancy.

Roeder said he considered hiding on a roof looking down on Tiller's clinic in Wichita to shoot him with a sniper rifle, or smashing his car into the abortion doctor's vehicle and chopping Tiller's hands off with a sword. But Roeder said he abandoned the latter idea because Tiller would still be able to teach others how to carry out abortions. In the end, Roeder walked up to Tiller at the doctor's Lutheran church and shot him in the head.

Now, about whether the anti-choice forces should wear this. Interestingly:
Roeder's lawyer told the jury how his client had grown increasingly frustrated over the years by the continued operation of Tiller abortion clinic despite a vigorous campaign against it by anti-abortionists. The clinic was bombed in 1986 and the focus of a mass blockade five years later.

So. The anti-choicers make big (fund-raising) claims about shutting Dr Tiller down. They don't. Some nutbar gets 'frustrated'. And assassination ensues.

This murder is definitely on them. And Bill Fucking O'Reilly too, of course.

And, today, a jury member speaks.

"It was never spoken of," said the 54-year-old, whose first service as a juror came in a trial that drew reporters and activists on both sides of the abortion issue from coast to coast.

He said the jury discussed only the question of whether Roeder was guilty of first-degree murder for shooting Tiller while Tiller served as an usher in his Wichita church, and whether Roeder was guilty of aggravated assault for pointing a handgun at two people who tried to block his escape.

Because of security concerns, the juror asked that his name not be used. He said he didn't want to take any chances that someone might lash out against him.

The guilty verdict was unanimous from the beginning of the deliberations, he said.

"There wasn't much to argue about."

They found the evidence against Roeder "overwhelming."

That's why it took only 37 minutes to decide, he said.

Then there's this rather chilling -- but really not surprising -- news.
For security during the trial, he said, jurors were picked up at an undisclosed location. Officers carefully checked vehicles used to transport them, passing mirrors underneath.

The measures reassured him.

"We never felt like we were in any danger."

He said he wanted to give "a big thank you" to Sedgwick County sheriff's officers and to District Judge Warren Wilbert, who presided over the trial.

"He was very passionate about our safety," the juror said of Wilbert. "He went to great lengths" to protect the jurors' identities.

So, it is mostly over. The anti-abortion terrorists and enablers did not get the circus they hoped for.

Justice was done and swiftly.

Next, the sentencing. In Kansas, first degree murder merits a life sentence, usually with no chance of parole for 25 years. But there is another option -- something called 'Hard 50'. No chance of parole for 50 years. There's much speculation on whether the prosecution is going for it.

I'm hoping so. Roeder is in his 50s. Hard 50 would about do it for me.


Oemissions said...

What about execution?
Don't they go for that in cases like this, in the US?

Alena said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


fern hill said...

Hiya, Alena. Welcome.

For Oemissions: I remember that early on the death penalty was taken off the table, so to speak. I was looking for a link to that. Haven't yet found.

But I found this.

Kansas reinstated the death penalty in the early 1990s but hasn't used it. It is under review now.

The Mound of Sound said...

Why didn't he go with the "mad hatter" defence? When you're being judged by a society as decidedly unhinged as 21st Century America, how can anyone qualify as criminally insane?

fern hill said...

Good point, MoS. :D

Anonymous said...

DeepGreenDesign says - :)

Post a Comment