On Friday January 29, 2010 Scott Roeder was convicted in a Wichita, KS courtroom of first degree murder for the May 31, 2009 killing of Dr. George Tiller. While the more radical side of the pro forced childbirth movement hoped to make this trial a referendum on abortion (Tiller was one of the few doctors who would perform late term abortion when medically necessary) it ended up only taking 37 minutes for a jury to reach a verdict.
Roeder's attorneys tried to allow the jury to convict Roeder of voluntary manslaughter. While the judge allowed it to be entertained, in the end the jury was barred from considering it.
The main question now lies with the sentencing - whether his life sentence (automatic from what I understand) will be 25 years or 50 years before he's eligible for parole (yes, you read that right - this dickweed will be eligible for parole). Prosecution's pushing for a hard 50 (which means Roeder would be over 100 years old before he could receive parole).
I know some people would want the death penalty instated here. However, even supporters of capital punishment should oppose it in this instance for one reason - it would definitely make Roeder a martyr in the eyes of some extremists in the pro forced childbirth movement - a man who sacrificed himself to allegedly save the present and future unborn. While some of these people will view him as a martyr as it stands now, killing this asshole would simply enshrine him to near sainthood in the eyes of some misguided souls in said movement (not everyone but enough people to make it a problem).
Another issue on the martyr trial is a lesser known fact in the Roeder case: he was also convicted of aggravated assault.
Don't be surprised if you didn't know that. Hell, I only learned about it a couple days ago. When Roeder murdered Dr. Tiller he didn't just wait to be arrested, he pointed a gun at two church ushers and tried to make a getaway. That doesn't help the "misguided self defense" trope Roeder and his attorney tried to make at the trial. Obviously the murder charge is the most important but given the guy's past this puts some things into perspective.
As expected Roeder is appealing the conviction saying the jury wasn't allowed to fully ponder the manslaughter defense (supposed based on the belief that Roeder had an "unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances exited that justified using deadly force."
So while justice has been served in the eyes of all but those who may be considered extremists in the pro forced childbirth movement (at least publicly) we'll most likely hear more about this case in the future. That's the unfortunate part.