The jury in the George Tiller killing came to the right verdict, convicting Scott Roeder of murder in the first degree. From the story:
Jurors swiftly convicted an abortion opponent of murder Friday for shooting to death one of the only doctors to offer late-term abortions in the U.S., a killing the gunman claimed was justified to save the lives of unborn children.More NewsThe jury deliberated for just 37 minutes before finding Scott Roeder, 51, of Kansas City, Mo., guilty of premeditated, first-degree murder for putting a gun to the forehead of Dr. George Tiller on May 31 and pulling the trigger.
There was no other verdict to reach. The judge had properly removed “manslaughter” as a lesser verdict. From an earlier story:
After Roeder’s testimony, District Judge Warren Wilbert ruled that the jury would not be permitted to consider the manslaughter charge because abortion, including late-term abortion, is legal in Kansas and because Tiller did not pose an imminent threat. “There is no immediate danger in the back of a church,” the judge said. He also ruled out a second-degree murder conviction, which does not involve premeditation, because it was clear Roeder planned the killing. “It would be hard for a reasonable fact-finder to find anything other than the defendant formulating his belief and then planning on multiple occasions ... to carry out his intention to (kill) Dr. Tiller.”
Spot on. George Tiller enthusiastically engaged in the odious practice of late term abortion. But that did not justify murder, nor should Roeder’s desire to save babies mitigate the punishment. Roeder not only murdered a man, he acted as a vigilante. Nothing could be more dangerous in a free society.