Judge says no to ‘necessity defense’ for George Tiller’s alleged killer

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Scott Roeder, the man who admitted to reporters that he killed Wichita abortion provider George Tiller, cannot use the so-called “necessity defense,” arguing killing Tiller was justified to save fetuses that would have been aborted.

Sedgwick County District Court Judge Warren Wilbert denied the defense motion yesterday, citing no evidence of “imminent threat,” according to the Wichita Eagle

The Eagle also reported that the judge left open the possibility of Roeder’s defense offering evidence and arguments that Roeder killed Tiller “in the belief that he was saving the lives of the unborn.” Such a possibility paves the way for Roeder’s public defenders to ask jurors to consider lesser crimes than first-degree premeditated murder. Like voluntary manslaughter.

On rejecting the necessity defense, Wilbert reportedly said:

“I recognize we could all have our own individual personal views, religious views, moral and ethical views,” Wilbert said in his ruling. “But the United States Supreme Court has come down many, many years ago in Roe v. Wade that an abortion is a legal and constitutionally protected decision by the mother and… by health care providers.”

 Warren also denied Roeder’s request to move the trial outside of Wichita.

Jury selection for Roeder’s trial is scheduled for

January 11, 2010, and expected to last a week. Roeder’s actual trial is

likely to begin January 19 and last two weeks.

In early November, Roeder reportedly confessed to killing Tiller in an interview with the Associated Press.

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