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Will Scott Roeder claim ‘justifiable homicide’ at his upcoming murder trial?

SCOTT Roeder, the “born-again” Christian zealot who gunned down and killed US abortion provider Dr George Tiller on May 31, is reported to be in talks with a prominent attorney who represents anti-abortion protesters and has long advocated justifiable homicide as a legal defence in such cases.

Scott Roeder

Scott Roeder

Scott Roeder, 51, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and aggravated assault charges arising out of the murder of Tiller in the foyer of a Wichita church.

Roeder has court-appointed defence attorneys, but he apparently has now turned to Michael Hirsh, the lawyer who represented Paul Hill on appeal for killing a Florida abortion provider and his bodyguard in 1994. Hill was executed in 2003 after the Florida Supreme Court rejected Hirsh’s argument that the judge should have allowed Hill to present to jurors his claim that the killings were justified to prevent abortions.

Hirsh confirmed he has spoken once to Roeder in recent weeks about representing him, but he has not yet been retained. Hirsh said he had not researched the facts of the case or Kansas law enough to know whether the justifiable homicide defence could be used, but he said a jury should be allowed to decide if it is applicable.

Hirsh discounted the suggestion that if a jury acquitted Roeder of murder based on such a defence, it would lead to an open season on abortion doctors.

Richard Levy, a professor at the University of Kansas School of Law, said such defences can work, but not necessarily in the context of abortion. The law requires that the threat be imminent, the force reasonable in response and the activity involved unlawful.

Any claim that killing an abortion provider is justifiable would likely fail, he said.

Meanwhile, we learn that a Bible study group that Roeder joined has come under close scrutiny by the authorities – including the FBI.

And members are not happy.

Said Michael Clayman, an attorney who was host for the group:

People are trying to make something out of nothing. It was like any other Bible study around town. It was a bunch of guys having spaghetti and meatballs, talking about philosophy. It wasn’t a bunch of Jim Jones people meeting or drinking Kool-Aid or plotting things. No cult, no nothing.

Clayman said Roeder took the abortion issue to the extreme. He said Roeder talked often about his belief that killing an abortion doctor was an act of justifiable homicide.

Scott believed that the Bible was literal, the word of God. Where he went astray was he had this crazy, fanatic doctrine that you could somehow justify killing somebody just because they were an abortion doctor.

Clayman added:

He’s going to be tried, and he’s going to try and do a dog-and-pony show in front of the media. He wants to tell the whole world. He’s a martyr, see? That’s what he wanted to be.

In a recent interview, Roeder said he “had become a believer” around 1992.

I converted, born again to Christianity. I guess you could say Messianic, or turned to Jesus, Yeshua, as my Saviour.

19 responses to “Will Scott Roeder claim ‘justifiable homicide’ at his upcoming murder trial?”

  1. Rog says:

    This will never hold up in court – it would be tantamount to state sanctioned theological murder, if this were to pass: Everyone who had offended someone's religious sensibilities would be a target *later that day*….

  2. Rog says:

    This will never hold up in court – it would be tantamount to state sanctioned theological murder, if it were to pass: Everyone who had offended someone's religious sensibilities would be a target *later that day*….

    If they do try it, whilst I am sure it will fail I'm equally sure it will cause a shitstorm as well.

  3. Rozi says:

    If he said that voices in his head told him to kill an abortion doctor then he'd be locked up in a nut house before he'd had time to pack his PJs. Because he says Jesus, someone takes him seriously. Love it.

  4. Brian Jordan says:

    And Roeder's "bible study" group "was a bunch of guys having spaghetti and meatballs, talking about philosophy"? Could he have been tricked by a gang of Pastafarians, I wonder?

  5. barriejohn says:

    Well, of course it's "justifiable homicide": why shouldn't we all be able to go out and shoot anyone whom we consider to be doing the Devil's work? And as for believing that Prince Charles is the Antichrist – I'm almost lost for words! Now – Camilla Parker Bowles: THAT would be more believable!! The funniest thing though (if you can call any of this "funny", when someone has lost his life) is that one of these guys seriously believes that Roeder has been framed! He shoots someone in a public place, in front of witnesses, and the government are framing him: it doesn't get much more unbelievable than that!!

  6. It makes sense in the Tom Tomorrow "Right WingO-Verse." Check out: http://www.salon.com/comics/tomo/2009/04/21/tomo/

    Very, very sad event. And the man is being cheered and supported by wackos and, I would assume, is now being supported by them in his effort to get a high-priced scumbag lawyer to help him try and get away with it… Disgusting.

  7. barriejohn says:

    "We might need to destroy this country in order to save it" : that's very good! There has to be some correlation between the Americans' extreme religiosity and their willingness to swallow almost any "conspiracy theory", however improbable. Fantasy, even absurd fantasy, seems to appeal to them far more than mundane reality. This seems to me to be linked to the amazing success of religious showmen like Billy Graham, and the MLM conmen. (I have been to MLM "presentations" as well as BG "Crusades" and the similarity is remarkable!) Of course, these tactics never work so well in Great Britain, leading to much castigation of the "smallminded" and "unimaginative" British, as people like Luis Palau and Morris Cerullo have found to their cost!!

  8. Reality is a bitch. Facts and what not get in the way of a spurious argument.
    You should see the Texas Secessionist movement for a hearty laugh. Their governor was advocating sedition and treason a few months ago during a "tea party" event. Now the crazies are rallying on the Texas capital steps demanding that Texas secede from the USA.
    And, by the way, 9/11 was a democratic conspiracy.
    And Obama (or BHO as the new acronym goes–making a point out of his race and ancestory) is going to take away everyone's guns and make everyone get abortions and make all kids part of his gay-loving extravaganza, etc etc etc….
    You guys have Labour wrecking everything. Here we have Rush, Glenn, et al' running public policy debate–people who believe the above.

  9. Reality is a bitch. Facts and what not get in the way of a spurious argument.
    You should see the Texas Secessionist movement for a hearty laugh. Their governor was advocating sedition and treason a few months ago during a "tea party" event. Now the crazies are rallying on the Texas capital steps demanding that Texas secede from the USA.
    And, by the way, 9/11 was a democratic conspiracy.
    And Obama (or BHO as the new acronym goes–making a point out of his race and ancestory) is going to take away everyone's guns and make everyone get abortions and make all kids part of his gay-loving extravaganza, etc etc etc….
    You guys have Labour wrecking everything. Here we have Rush, Glenn, et all running public policy debate–people who believe the above.

  10. barriejohn says:

    I don't like to nit-pick when you make such interesting comments, horseloverfats, but it's actually New Labour who have done so much damage over here! Although not a Socialist myself (being a life-long Liberal) I am old enough to remember the Labour Party, for whom I had much respect. I also don't like to suggest this, but do you think that there is a genetic problem with a great many Americans? It's just that there seems to be such a clear demarcation between the loonies and those who are absolutely horrified by what is being said and done. I know how I would feel in your situation!!

  11. William Harwood says:

    I was about to ask who the hell are Rush and Glenn, since they have the appearance of surnames. If you wish to be understood, say Limbaugh, Beck, et al.

  12. Buffy says:

    Lock the scumbag away for life. "God said so" shouldn't be an acceptable excuse for cold blooded murder.

  13. Mr Gronk says:

    That chinless prick's inbred face is the best argument I can think of for abortion.

  14. Rog says:

    This is the thing, if an individual derives their ethics solely from 'god', it would be compulsory from a deontological perspective to commit acts that most of us would find abhorent…

  15. tony e says:

    As always the religous nutters contradict themselves. In his mind his God told him to do it, and if his God is infallable and cannot make mistakes, then surely he should accept the death penalty so he can be reunited? But, and we see this all the time, when the end is near suddenly they start to fight it. Which just goes to show how much faith they have in an afterlife.

  16. Another defense would be to rekindle Calvinism and consider that perhaps Roeder isn't guilty at all; but rather, that God was acting through Roeder. Acquitting him based on that kind of an argument, however, would take a jury packed by odd-birds even more rare than the bird on trial.

    I'm pleased to say that there is no reasonable defense for Mr. Roeder. He is a murderer of the highest, premeditated and cold-blooded, degree. Our society ought to condemn him to death without hesitation and along with him it ought to condemn fanatical religious extremism – all of it – from the slimmest far right sliver, Roeder with his think-alike friends, to all the way back up the slope and the top of the bell shaped curve.

  17. Buffy says:

    Which is why the claim that only those who have "objective morality" derived from "god" and the Bible can be ethical/moral is complete BS.

  18. barriejohn says:

    As soon as you mention predestination/predetermination you open an enormous can of worms! If God is really all-powerful and all-knowing, with an eternal purpose for the Universe which cannot be thwarted, then how can any of his creatures have anything even approaching free will? Many of them even think that Judas Iscariot was a saint (seriously!) because he was just carrying out God's Holy Will, so Roeder must be in line for the Papacy!!

    (PS The problem, as with many others, doesn't just go away when you kick God into touch. The question remains: if there are laws governing the Universe then is every single thing that happens predetermined from the instant of the Big Bang? If so – do any of us really have free will?)

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