Trial begins in Kansas of man who killed abortion doctor

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 18 January 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c330
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. 1New York

    The trial of Scott Roeder for murder began in Wichita, Kansas, last week. Although he pleaded not guilty, Mr Roeder has publicly admitted shooting and killing George Tiller, one of the few US doctors who provided late term abortions, in May 2009.

    The trial had been expected to be about premeditated first degree murder. However, Judge Warren Wilbert has allowed Mr Roeder’s lawyers to plead that he killed Dr Tiller in “voluntary manslaughter” to protect fetuses. Under Kansas law voluntary manslaughter is a killing committed in “an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force.”

    The penalty for a conviction on voluntary manslaughter could be five years …

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