15 January 2010

Dr. Tiller's murder was not "justifiable homicide"

Pre-trial proceedings are under way for Scott Roeder, who is accused of the cold-blooded murder last year of Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller. And they're not off to a good start.

Earlier this week, a judge said that he might allow the jury to consider what amounts to a "justifiable homicide" conviction rather than first-degree murder, which could allow Roeder to argue that he killed Dr. Tiller in order to save unborn babies. This could allow him to walk free after just four years if convicted.

Just think of the slippery slope that this could create.

Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), called the ruling a "dangerous and potentially deadly precedent."

The following are O'Neill's astute and insightful comments on the matter:
"Judge Wilbert's ruling allows Roeder, in effect, to make out a claim of justifiable terrorism -- that is, that Roeder was justified because of his religious ideology. Murder driven by ideological zealotry is a form of terrorism. What's really disturbing about Judge Wilbert's irresponsible ruling is that it could easily encourage other religious extremists to attack health care providers as a justifiable means of stopping women from obtaining abortions.

"This trial is about the murder of Dr. Tiller -- a family man, a father, a husband, and a caring and compassionate physician. Allowing the defense to make this trial about Roeder's abortion views is not just demeaning to the memory of a brave doctor, but also creates real danger for providers around the country. Roeder's act was voluntary all right -- but he shouldn't be rewarded with a 4 to 6 year sentence for voluntary manslaughter. He should be tried for premeditated murder."
Kari Ann Rinker, president of the Kansas state chapter of NOW, added the following points:
"The court failed to send the message that religious fanaticism has no place in a defense against a murder charge. Mr. Roeder has already made his malicious intent toward Dr. Tiller clear through his repeated jail house confessions to the press. Kansas NOW urges Judge Wilbert to listen to the evidence however it may be presented and urge the jury to try Mr. Roeder for the crime of first degree murder."

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