- The Washington Times - Friday, January 29, 2010

WICHITA, Kan. | The man accused of murdering prominent Kansas abortion provider Dr. George Tiller took the stand in his own defense Thursday and promptly admitted that he fatally shot Tiller in an attempt to save unborn children.

Scott Roeder, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and aggravated assault, was sworn in and made no effort to deny prosecutors’ claims that he killed Tiller in the foyer of Tiller’s Wichita church on May 31. He previously confessed publicly to shooting Tiller.

Asked later by his own attorney about his views on abortion, the 51-year-old Mr. Roeder said he thinks it amounts to murder.

“From conception forward it is murder. … It is not a man’s job to take life. It is our heavenly father’s. He is our creator,” said Mr. Roeder, who is from Kansas City, Mo.

Mr. Roeder replied “yes” or “no” to many of the questions he was asked, and his attempts to elaborate drew frequent objections from prosecutors, who say Mr. Roeder lacks the medical expertise to describe Tiller’s practice.

When asked to detail the types of abortion procedures he was familiar with, Mr. Roeder answered “four or five” and then listed them.

Voluntary manslaughter in Kansas is defined as “an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force.” A conviction on the lesser charge involves considerably less prison time.

Sedgwick County Judge Warren Wilbert reminded Mr. Roeder’s attorneys in court Wednesday that they must couple a voluntary manslaughter defense with a showing of imminent danger posed by the doctor. He noted abortion is legal in Kansas.

Judge Wilbert will rule later on whether to allow jurors to consider the lesser charge.

The two counts of aggravated assault Mr. Roeder faces are for allegedly using a gun to threaten two ushers who tried to stop him after the May 31 shooting at Tiller’s Wichita church.

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