Andy Kopsa

Off The Record: On Religion, Politics & Equality

Roeder Guilty of Murdering Dr. Tiller, Aggravated Assault

The jury took only 37 minutes to deliver a guilty verdict in the case of Scott Roeder.  Not only did they unanimously find (state polled jury) him guilty of the 1st degree murder of Dr. George Tiller, they found him guilty on the lesser charges of the aggravated assault of Gary Hoepner and Keith Martin.  After killing Dr. Tiller, Roeder pointed the gun at both Hoepner and Martin, threatening to shoot if he were followed.

Prosecutor Kim Parker: “Hopefully this sends a clear message that his type of conduct is not acceptable.”

Public Defender Rudy: “Everything we had, since day one, we were aiming for the manslaughter.”  Then the judge give not give the jury the option of voluntary manslaughter. “It was crushing,” Rudy said.

Sentencing is set for March 9th.

Now, on to the federal investigation under the FACE act.

NOTE – Quotes via Wichita Eagle reporter:  @rsylvester on Twitter

3 comments on “Roeder Guilty of Murdering Dr. Tiller, Aggravated Assault

  1. Jon Josserand
    January 29, 2010

    So, how does that storyline “Voluntary manslaughter defense looking more likely in Tiller murder trial” look today?

    • akopsa
      January 29, 2010

      Completely accurate.

      That is exactly what the defense did, present a case of voluntary manslaughter. Thankfully the jury and judge didn’t see it that way. I think you are missing the point, Jon. The outrage is that there was a mechanism in Kansas law that ALLOWED the presentation of a VM Case. It would be helpful if you read the whole article and maybe my past articles.

      However, your ongoing support is appreciated.

      And, I am anxiously waiting for the legal opinions of your “9 out of 10″ legal friends gave you. Can’t wait.

  2. Jon Josserand
    January 31, 2010

    “The outrage is that there was a mechanism in Kansas law that ALLOWED..”
    __
    Not really, Akoupsa. Much of the pre-trial narrative criticism of the trial, and I do believe this included yours, were critical of motivations, possible prejudice, and rulings of the judge involved here, not at “the mechanism in Kansas law.”

    I just now encountered your follow-up to my comment on your previous article, and my reference to “9 out of 10.” My mention of that was based on attorneys I know who are familiar with the Sedgwick County bench, and their overall regard for the abilities and fairness of Judge Wilbert, not for some particular legal theory about VM.

    There is a natural tendency in narrative writing as journalism to invoke the premise of “the sky is falling” to increase conflict, and therefore interest and readership, in any story. It is a question of balance. How do you properly hype aspects of a story for readership without becoming the National Enquirer? Unfortunately, the advance of self-selected audiences as it is being shaped by cable tv, and increasingly in print, is unfortunate. So my frustration is just not with your previous article, but to the larger journalistic and blog enterprise.

    When I read your previous article, I did believe it to be too far and not supportable. (didn’t you change the headline? I could have misread that)

    I think the Judge ran a good courtroom, and a fair trial. He interpreted the law in a manner which will minimize the potential for an overturn on appeal. Had he eliminated the defense’s ability to consider VM, the possibility of overturn on appeal would be much greater.

    You stated: “I think that any whisper of voluntary manslaughter in this case is dangerous.” You also said that that the trial would be a trial about abortion, despite the judge’s intention to prevent this. I disagree on both points.

    I respectfully suggest that the judge’s course was appropriate, for the reason I previously stated, and that the trial, despite your predictions, was not about abortion. I point you to post-trial statements made by the jury foreman regarding the central issue of the trial:

    http://www.kansas.com/news/story/1160720.html

    If the issue was indeed “the mechanism of Kansas law” lets write an article about that. That is *not* how the narrative of most pre-trial reporting was. It was criticsm directed quite pointedly, at the judge.

    I am not an expert in criminal law, nor do I know how Kansas law compares to other states’ criminal codes in this regard. But I would find it surprising if it was a wild outlier when compared to other criminal codes taken as a whole.

    I just looked outside, and my sky is blue and sunny today. I don’t see it falling anywhere. I like it that way. :)

    Thanks for following this trial. Despite my disagreement with that article, your writing is far better than most I read. And I wouldn’t have even commented had I thought of your skills any less.

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This entry was posted on January 29, 2010 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .
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